Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Electronics installation... commence!

Despite the unusually poor weather, the installation of the electronics
in the RF-container commenced on time and proceeded swiftly. The first
step was to install the sub-rack assemblies into the container. These
contain the bulk of the signal processing electronics.

Caption 1 : The observatory van arrives with another load of

Caption 2 : Tonjes Jipping and Peter Gruppen manhandle one of the
sub-rack assemblies out from its crate and into the RF-container for
installation in the rack frames.

The great British summer

On Tuesday 13th July, the next crew of Dutch engineers and technicians
arrived from the Netherlands to start work on the installation of the RF
electronics in the RF container. This crew was from ASTRON and Excel
Assemblies, both based in the Netherlands. Curiously, on that day, the
wet weather returned. Coincidence?

Caption 1 : The ASTRON car arrives!

Caption 2 : Ominous clouds hang over the entrance to the construction
site. The Chilbolton 25m dish can be seen in the background under the
looming clouds.

Caption 3 : Sure enough, with a few dumps of heavy rain the construction
site quickly turns into a quagmire.

Packing the electronics

With the HBA nearly complete, by the 12 July 2010 it was time to start
preparing the electronics for installation in the RF-container. These
boxes had arrived the previous November and had been patiently waiting
in storage ready for their final deployment. The following day, the
ASTRON installation team were due to arrive, so all the equipment was
readied for transportation out to the field.

Caption: Boxes of sub-rack assemblies, patch cables and network
electronics, all queued in the workshop ready for loading into the
observatory van for transport to the LOFAR field.

Another snapshot of the HBA installation

Although the HBA build was completed a little while ago, there are still
many photographs in the archives of this impressive installation
operation. Over the course of the next few days, we hope to post these
to the web log and bring the story up-to-date. There is still much to be
done on the LOFAR-UK site over the course of the coming months.

Caption: Work on one of the remaining HBA tiles during the installation
weeks. This photograph was taken on the 12th July 2010 and shows a new
placed tile being secured and fitted.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Some great pictures from the LBA installation

I just updated the main LOFAR website adding some new header images. They were taken from this wonderful series of images of the LBA installation kindly sent to us by Chris Ison of the Press Association (reproduced with permission). Chris visited the LBA installation on the second day of the main week (ie. the Tuesday).

In the first four images Derek McKay-Bukowski (installation manager) checks the alignment of an LBA. Derek personally quality checked (and photographed) the installation of all 96 LBA... among his many other tasks during the installation.

A wide angle shot of the LBA field during the installation week. You can see the 25m dish in the background.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

LOFAR Videos on YouTube

A couple of nice videos relating to LOFAR which were made for the opening in the Netherlands are now available on YouTube.

The first two are a collection of soundbites from famous radio astronomers along with images.

(part two start with a quote from Steve Rawlings from Oxford).

Then there is this "Introduction to LOFAR".

Monday, August 16, 2010

Unknown unknowns

Awesome science writer (and fellow Cornell Grad student) Kate Becker writes about LOFAR in her weekly column "The Visible Universe" - "The Unknown unknowns of the cosmos"