Monday, October 26, 2009

Chilbolton LOFAR Status Report 26 October 2009

As activities ramp up at Chilbolton in the coming months, Owain Davies will be issuing regular status reports to the astronomers involved in LOFAR-UK. The full report can be viewed by those astronomers in the restricted section of the LOFAR-UK Wiki. With Owain's help I will be posting an edited version of the report on the blog.

Note that a LOFAR-UK glossary of terms used in these postings is planned.

LOFAR Kit Delivery

The first deliveries of the kit to build the LOFAR radio telescope at Chilbolton will take place in November. The two separate deliveries from the Netherlands will consist of the LOFAR container, LBA (low band antenna) ground planes and weed suppressant foils, and also the electronics and cables for the HBA/LBA (high band and low band antennas).

A LOFAR Container:

A low-band antenna (LBA):

These first two deliveries will allow the LOFAR container to have its electronics installed and the LBA installed as soon as the site is ready.

The LOFAR container will be dropped off in the car park of the Chilbolton Observatory along with the ground planes and foils. The electronic equipment and cables will be stored inside the main building.

Site Preparation

Chilbolton will soon be ready to select a contractor to do the site preparation for LOFAR. The works will consist of leveling the two areas for the low band and high band antennas, making a concrete foundation for the LOFAR container, digging trenches for the cables, and also routing electrical and other services to the site.

Network Connection

The details of the high speed internet connection to the Netherlands are still being worked out. One possible route goes via Southampton and then London, however if use of the computing and storage facilities at RAL is considered, then this may not be the most cost effective way to connect both the Netherlands and RAL to Chilbolton. So other routings are being considered.

Current Projected Timeline

Winter 2010
  • completion of low band antennas and LOFAR container installation

Spring 2010
  • network connection to the Netherlands finished
  • completion of construction of high band antennas (good weather is required for this part of the installation)

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