Marijke Haverkorn, astronomer at ASTRON, has received a Vidi grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, NWO. With this grant, Marijke will investigate the magnetic field of the Milky Way using the LOFAR telescope. Due to its low frequency range, LOFAR, the Low Frequency Array, is sensitive to low magnetic field strength far away from the Galactic disk, a regime that has hardly been probed before.
With the 800,000 Euro awarded, Marijke will be able to hire a PhD student (based at Leiden) and two PostDocs (based at ASTRON). In addition, the grant allows her to purchase additional hardware for computing power and storage of LOFAR data.
Haverkorn's group will help commissioning of LOFAR, analyse Galactic polarisation observations, develop methods for interpretation of the data (i.e. rotation measure synthesis cubes of the diffuse Galactic interstellar medium) in order to be able to characterise the magnetic field in the Milky Way halo. The goal is to determine the origin and evolution of the Galactic magnetic field and its interaction with the rest of the Galaxy.