Friday, October 22, 2010

LOFAR like arrays for satellite TV and radio

There have been a couple of articles on technology news websites in the last week about the possible use of LOFAR like arrays to receive satellite TV or radio.

Gizmag: New chip could allow antenna arrays to replace satellite dishes

Next Big Future: Virtual Satellite Dish using energy efficient special DSP chip

Seems like an interesting impact of the development of software pointed radio telescopes like LOFAR - to make getting digital radio on your smart phone possible, or remove the need for aiming satellite dishes.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

World Space Week at Intech

LOFAR-UK was represented at this year's World Space Week events at the Intech Science Centre and Planetarium near Winchester, Hampshire. Members of SEPnet universities put together some demonstrations of the technology behind LOFAR including radio wave detection, and fibre optic transmission of information.

A LOFAR-UK poster behind a demonstration of fibre optics.

There was an LBA on site. It was put together by an expert member of the student army and good enough to give an idea of the simple materials used, but definitely not going to quite pass inspection to join the array! Unfortunately we don't have any space ground planes at present, so this just shows the central pole, LNA and antenna wires, but we are planning to make a mock up ground plane to improve the demonstration for next time.

SEPnet members demonstrating the transmission of information by fibre optics to a group of school children.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Yesterday and Tuesday, the BT engineers were on site to install the network termination equipment (NTE) for the 10 gigabit link. This is the connection equipment that will transmit the data from the main Chilbolton building to the next major network point which is located in Southampton.

Caption 1 : The BT van arrives at the main building at Chilbolton Observatory

Caption 2 : Installed. This is what the connection looks like in the comms room at the observatory.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

LOFAR-UK on OU Learn Channel

LOFAR-UK now appears on the OU Learn Channel. In the below video Dr Stephen Serjeant (reader in cosmology at the Open University and a member of LOFAR-UK) talks about the recent opening at Chilbolton about how LOFAR works and the exciting cosmology it will do, along with how the Open University is involved.

Overview Images

Yesterday at Chilbolton, we made use of the trailer-mounted cherry picker. The first image was made from a height of approx. 10 metres above the hard compound at the end of the HBA array. It gives a great view of the HBA, but the LBA is still visible in the distance.

The second image is from the opposite right side, looking back over the LBA, but also with an excellent view of the HBA and 25m dish in the background. It was made from a height of approx. 16 metres.

The final image shows the photographer in action; not a job for anyone with a fear of heights.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

LOFAR-UK on ASTRON Image of the Day

The LOFAR-UK Chilbolton Station has appeared again on the ASTRON Daily Image, this time for October 6th 2010.

See LOFAR on BBC Horizon

Bob Nichol was on last night's episode of Horizon explaining how LOFAR can be used to learn about what might have happened before the Big Bang.

View it on iPlayer link.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Watch LOFAR-UK on Sky at Night on iPlayer

You can at the moment watch the report on LOFAR-UK on the Sky at Night on iPlayer. The start of the episode is at this link. The point at which the LOFAR-UK segment starts is here (roughly at the 23 minute mark).


Friday, October 1, 2010

Transformational Science from a Revolutionary Radio Telescope

Now available on YouTube is the talk "Transformational Science from a Revolutionary Radio Telescope" given by Prof. Rob Fender (Southampton Uni/LOFAR-UK Project Leader) at the LOFAR-UK Chilbolton Opening on Monday 20th September 2010.