Friday, January 29, 2010

STFC support for LOFAR-UK

Following extensive discussions with STFC and the UK SKA R&D teams, a package has been formulated which guarantees the future of the LOFAR-UK station at Chilbolton, supplementing the resources already raised by LOFAR-UK. Additional support for installation, commissioning and operations of the station will now be provided from within the funding provision that was made for the UK SKA R&D programme, while maintaining the independence of LOFAR-UK. The program will now move ahead at full speed, facilitating full UK participation in LOFAR science during the first full array observations in 2010 and beyond.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chilbolton Status Update for January

Ground Works

A contractor to start the ground works has not yet been found, party due to the first quote coming in to high, but also there has been some delay due to the uncertainty over STFC funding (which was cleared up this week). The project manager Mike Willis and other staff will meet new bidders at Chilbolton in early Feb. Work is now expected to commence in early March. It will be tight but we are still hoping to complete the ground work before the 1st of June. This work must be completed before any of the antennas can be installed.

LBA Installation

We are happy to announce that Gordon Brown (of STFC) will be taking on the job of co-ordinating the teams of volunteers at the time that the LBAs (low band antennas) are being deployed (and possibly also the high band antennas, HBAs). Mike Willis, the project manager for LOFAR at Chilbolton says "I would like to thank Gordon for taking on this task, I am sure it will go smoothly under his guidance."

(For LOFAR-UK astronomers, this is an edited summary of the reports from Mike Willis on 5th and 26th Jan which can be found in full on the main LOFAR-UK Wiki in the Restricted Section)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sad News for LOFAR-UK Community

There is sad news for the LOFAR-UK community from this weekend.

Dr Timothy Garn, a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh and a member of the LOFAR Surveys team died on Sunday after he lost his footing hiking in the Scottish mountains.

Edinburgh Evening News article

Dr. Philip Best, deputy PI for LOFAR-UK and Edinburgh astronomer is quoted as saying Dr Garn was "an outstanding scientist, always enthusiastic, energetic, and most of all extremely talented, continually surpassing expectations. Nature has cruelly taken Tim away far too early. It has cut short an extremely promising research career, and deprived the world of a truly fine young man."

Our deepest condolences go to Tim's family and friends at this time.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

LOFAR-UK on Radio Solent

For your listening pleasure, you can download here (.WAV) or here (.MP3) the interview I did with BBC Radio Solent presenter Matt Treacy during the test installation of LOFAR Low Band Arrays at Chilbolton last month.

Photo of the team after construction: