Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First radar light for KAIRA

Well done to our colleagues at KAIRA (Kilpisjärvi Atmospheric Imaging Receiver Array) - the LOFAR-based project in Finland - who last Friday achieved their first radar light.
Using the EISCAT VHF transmitter at Ramsfjordmoen, near Tromsø, Norway, they transmitted a single 1.28ms long pulse. Using the multi-beam capability of the LOFAR-KAIRA system, they pointed at 31 common volumes along the transmission path and detected weak ionospheric plasma scatter. They have also now detected space debris and meteor echoes too.
Their initial spectrum is shown below. More information can be found on the KAIRA website.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

LOFAR at the International Astronomical Union Meeting

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) General Assembly meeting is happening soon in Beijing, China (a bit like the Olympics of Astronomy in a way - for example it happens every 3 years, the offical language is French, and it brings the worlds best together to showcase their skills - we don't compete for medals though!).

Anyway, LOFAR is going to be well represented at this IAU GA meeting, and below I list some of the talks on LOFAR science I have noticed on the program. LOFAR talks will appear in several different sessions demonstrating the diversity of science which is already coming out of LOFAR:

SpS4: "New Era for studying Interstellar and Intergalactic Magnetic Fields"

IAUS291: "Neutron Stars and Pulsars"

JD1: "The Highest Energy Gamma-Ray Universe Observed with Cerenkov Telecope Array Projects"

and also some of the technical challenges we are learning to face thanks to the data volumes of LOFAR:

SpS5: "Data Intensive Astronomy".

Here's the full LOFAR programme I've found so far:

Mon 20th August
11.20am Anna Sciafe - LOFAR and SKA for Magnetism Science
11.35am Vlad Kondratiev (for Ben Stappers) - New results from LOFAR 

Tue 21st August
11am - Heino Falcke - LOFAR in the era of Cerenkov Telescope Arrays

Wed 22nd August 
4pm Heino Falcke - Accretion and outflow in the local universe - first results from LOFAR

Thur 23rd August 
11.55am Annalisa Bonafede - Radio relics and magnetic field amplification in the ICM
3pm Thijs Coenen - LOFAR commissioning pulsar surveys
3.15pm Heino Falcke - FRATs: Searching for fast radio transients in real time with LOFAR

Fri 24th August
11.00am Joeri van Leeuwen
12.00pm Vlad Kondratiev - Pulsar Emission at the Bottom-End of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Wed 29th August
11am - Panagiotis Lampropoulos - Analysis of LOFAR EoR data on a GPU Cluster
2pm Michael Wise - Exascale Data Management with LOFAR (I)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Feedback from LOFAR Talk at Winchester Science Festival

We received some lovely feedback about Dr. Anna Scaife's talk on LOFAR from the Winchester Science Festival which I wanted to share.

"I’d like to say a huge thank you to Dr. Anna Scaife for her talk about LOFAR at the Winchester Science Festival. It was really fantastic !"

"The whole weekend was a triumph for the organisers and being able to hear talks from so many scientists about their work was simply joyful."

"LOFAR is of particular interest to me [] and it was great to have my question about the arrangement of the low band antennas answered with technical detail."

We were also sent these images of Anna in full flow of her talk. Image creditsDave Hughes, President of the Hampshire Skeptics Society.

LOFAR-UK on the (Bing) Map

From the KAIRA Project Blog: the LOFAR-UK station at Chilbolton now appears on the satellite images used by the Bing Maps.

Nice to see. :)

For the contrasting view, Google Maps currently has only empty fields at the same location.