Monday, October 3, 2011

LOFAR-UK Observes the Active Sun

Over the last few days, our Sun has been very active. Apart from the dedicated solar instruments monitoring this activity, we've also been able to observe it with the LOFAR radio telescope at Chilbolton. This facility comprises two fields of small antennas, that link together to perform as a powerful VHF radio telescope. Although it is also possible to link the LOFAR system in the UK with others across Europe, on the 28th September 2011, it was operating independently.

All Sky Image taken from LOFAR-UK, 28.09.11 (Credit: ASTRON/STFC)

At 16:10 UTC (= 5:10 pm local time), LOFAR Chilbolton was used to record an 'all-sky' image. Even before calibration and analysis, this image shows the bright objects in the radio sky. On the left hand side of the image there are, from top to bottom, Cassiopeia-A (a supernova remnant), Cygnus-A (a radio-galaxy) and the broader region which is the centre of our own Galaxy. However, to the right of the image, the Sun can be seen with extremely strong intensity, just before it set below the western horizon.

Menno Norden (ASTRON) and Derek McKay-Bukowski (RAL Space)

(Press release from RAL; KAIRA blog post.).