Observing with the WSRT

Observing with the WSRT

This page is intended to provide information for astronomers to prepare proposals to apply for observing time with the WSRT.

Please note that during the ongoing upgrade and forthcoming commissioning to the APERTIF system, regular operations of the WSRT have stopped since the summer of 2015.

The following information is kept for reference. 

Details about call for proposals can be found on the PC pages.

News and contact information

News and contact information about current capabilities can be found here.

TNA travel support

The WSRT hopes proposers are willing to take note of the EU encouragement to give their teams a European dimension; it brings valuable support!
Transnational Access travel support available

Proposing observations

The WSRT is an open user facility available for scientists from any country. Observing time is being allocated by a Program Committee (ASTRON-PC) on the basis of the scientific merit of the proposals and the operational constraints of the instrumentation at the telescope.

Guide to observations

A description of the WSRT system, receivers and backends can be found here.

Time exposure calculator

The time exposure calculator can be found here.

Analysing WSRT data

WSRT data can be analysed using any of the classical data reduction packages, most noticeably AIPS and Miriad. Since the WSRT uses its own UVFITS dialect as its output format, a few minor preparations are necessary before the data can be accessed in those packages. WSRT data can also be analysed using the Newstar package, which was tailored to reduce WSRT data in the 1970's, and hence contains a few possibilities of data treatment that are not contained in the other packages. Read more about how to analyse WSRT data.


Calibrator sources

The default strategy to calibrate WSRT data is to observe primary calibrators only at the beginning and the end of an observation. Due to the excellent phase stability of the system, this can be afforded, and prevents gaps in the uv-coverage typical for an East-West Array. Hence, the WSRT uses a few standard calibrator sources two of which are usually proposed for an observation by the operating team at the WSRT. However, high dynamic range observations might require a different strategy and the observation of secondary calibrators. In those cases we refer to the VLA Calibrator Manual and the Calibrator List.


The WSRT is part of the European VLBI Network (EVN). Proposals for use of the WSRT in the European or Global VLBI Network observations are coordinated separately (further information on Network VLBI can be found on the EVN-JIVE website). It is also possible to request WSRT participation in VLBI observations outside of Network sessions; these proposals will be assessed in competition with local WSRT proposals, and the standard WSRT application procedures should be followed.

Weekly schedule

The weekly schedule for the WSRT can be accessed here.

Real time status of the WSRT

The current status of the WSRT is monitored at the WSRT TMS web interface.

Mandatory Publication Acknowledgement

Please include this acknowledge in any publications resulting form the use of the WSRT:
"The Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope is operated by the ASTRON (Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy) with support from the Netherlands Foundation for Scientific Research (NWO)."
Please inform secretaryobservatory [at] astron [dot] nl (the Observatory Secretariat) of any publications which includes WSRT data.
Design: Kuenst.    Development: Dripl.    © 2016 ASTRON