Friday, July 1, 2011

LOFAR-UK Becomes a Full Member of the International LOFAR Telescope

At a recent meeting of the management of the Internatonal LOFAR Telescope, LOFAR-UK and STFC  signed the contract which governs the running the Chilbolton LOFAR Station (UK608) for 5 years and the transfer of data to The Netherlands for use in ILT array wide observations. 

Following this, and other similar contracts signed by the other international partners in the ILT (France, Germany and Sweden), all four international partners in LOFAR were formally welcomed as full members of the ILT, and given commemorative certificates. 

This is a significant milestone for LOFAR-UK guaranteeing UK scientists access to the agreed upon fraction of LOFAR data and many congratulations are due to the management of LOFAR-UK for the completion of this stage of the project.

From left to right shown are: FLOW representative Michel Tagger, GLOW delegate to the meeting Anton Zensus, LOFAR-Sweden secretary John Conway, LOFAR-UK chairman Philip Best, NL-LAC delegate and ILT Board chairman Heino Falcke, ILT Director Rene Vemeulen, ASTRON delegate Mike Garrett, and NL-LAC delegate Ralph Wijers.

The above picture, from the ASTRON picture of the day for June 30th shows members of the board celebrating this event.

 The LOFAR stations provided by these international partners greatly improve the capabilities of the ILT, by extending the maximum baseline of the telescope and therefore increasing resolution significantly (as was demonstrated by the first light image including 3 international stations). 

 Further countries are continuing to work towards obtaining funding 
for LOFAR stations and will hopefully join in the future extending the capabilities of the telescope even further. 

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