Friday, January 28, 2011

Project KAIRA - LOFAR in Finland

Featured today on the ASTRON image of the day are HBA tiles undergoing winter testing in Finland (Image reproduced below).

At LOFAR-UK we're delighted to welcome our Finnish friends to the International LOFAR Telescope. You can see details of the Project KAIRA (the Finnish LOFAR work) on their website and blog (both in English). As Chilbolton moves into an operational phase, and the big task of installation and commissioning has lessened, our LOFAR-UK Chilbolton Site Manager is now spending some of his time in Finland working on project KAIRA, so I think we can expect lots of updates on the progress on their blog.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

LOFAR-UK on Facebook

I just made a page for the LOFAR-UK Chilbolton Station on Facebook. You can now find us here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Intech Astronomy Day

LOFAR-UK was represented at this year's Astronomy Day at Intech. Sadie Jones (a Southampton PhD student) took along a temporary exhibit demonstrating the science and technology of LOFAR. She describes what she did on "Sadie's Outreach Blog"- Intech Astronomy Day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

LOFAR at the AAS

LOFAR seems to be well represented at the American Astronomical Society meeting which is happening in Seattle this week. The booth has been popular thanks to a wonderful model of LOFAR station in a typical Dutch landscape.

(Picture from ASTRON image of the day for Jan 11th)

And yesterday they made some live observations using several of the Dutch stations (and one in Germany) which you can watch in the below video.

What a wonderful demonstration of how LOFAR works.  It's been getting some really positive attention on Twitter (search for 'LOFAR #AAS217' to see for yourself.). Well done to all involved. :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

LOFAR Related PhDs at Southampton University

There are two PhD positions are available to work on LOFAR related science at the University of Southampton. Below is the advert from Southampton. 

Cosmological Radio Transients: Novel Techniques and Optical Counterparts

- Prof Rob Fender (

Two PhD positions are available to work in the newly-formed '4 PI SKY' team at Southampton, led by Professor Fender and funded by a 3 million Euro EC grant. The goal of the team is to coordinate and advance global efforts for the discovery, identification and understanding of cosmological radio bursts. These bursts are associated with diverse extreme astrophysical phenomena such as merging neutron stars, accreting black holes and supernovae. With these programs we hope to perform a real-time census of particle acceleration in the local universe, understand the growth of black holes on cosmological timescales, probe the nature of the distant intergalactic medium for the first time, and - just maybe - detect electromagnetic counterparts to the first-detected gravitational wave sources.

Professor Fender is joint project leader of radio transients programs on both LOFAR ( and MeerKAT (, two revolutionary new radio telescopes. The PhD projects available are (i) to work, in partnership with the Oxford University Transient Universe Studies group (OTUS), to develop novel techniques for the detection of transient events in the vast streams of data that will be produced by telescopes such as LOFAR and MeerKAT, and (ii) to work on the follow-up and classification programs for the optical counterparts of detected radio transients - only with these data will we be able to understand the physics behind the bursts that we detect.

Both of these projects will involve close collaboration with, and visits to, other collaborating groups in places such as Amsterdam, Cape Town and Sydney. The projects are funded for 4 years each and are open to applicants from across the EC. 

For more details on the group, and how to apply for the studentships,
please go to:

Rob Fender and LOFAR in the Sunday Telegraph

An article on the LOFAR-UK lead scientist Prof. Rob Fender (Southampton Uni) and what he plans to do with LOFAR appeared in the Sunday Telegraph this weekend:
New telescopes peer back to birth of first stars