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21-04-2010
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Luctor et Emergo

Submitter: Peter Bennema
Description: The latin means "I struggle and emerge". It is the heraldic motto of Zeeland, one of the provinces of the Netherlands that has been wrestling with the Sea over the centuries. But it is also appropriate, in more than one sense, to the LOFAR "superterp" in its present condition. Building (and operating) an instrument like LOFAR, with its unusually high "density of innovation", will always be a struggle, for lots of unsung heroes, for a long time to come. The important thing is to emerge on top, and we seem to be doing just that.

The 300m diameter superterp has 6 large LBA stations, and 12 checkered HBA stations. Note that they all have different orientations, to minimize the effect of the far sidelobes of the station beams. At the same time, their dipoles have been de-rotated to be parallel to each other, for calibration purposes.

Although the superterp is only a small part of the LOFAR radio telescope, it will play an important role in some key scientific programs, ranging from cosmology (EoR), to pulsar studies, to transient detection. To facilitate this, the superterp stations will soon share the same clock signal. Eventually, this signal will also be distributed to nearby stations, some of which can be gleaned in the background.

Thanks to its distinctive water features, the LOFAR superterp will be the second man-made object that can be discerned from orbit. It is proudly pointed out by airline pilots to their passengers when passing overhead.
Copyright: topfoto assen
 
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