By André Gunst
The LOFAR Transient Buffer Board (TBB) gave the LOFAR radio telescope a unique extra capability: looking back in time.
Published by the editorial team, 5 June 2020
For this the TBB had the latest DDR2 (Double Data Rate) memory technology onboard, at the time of installation. This was in particular required for cosmic ray and lightning studies. After a cosmic ray event trigger the data in the memory was stopped and consequently downloaded for further study of the raw antenna data. The system was able to look 5 seconds back in time for the full bandwidth. The time to look back could be increased by sacrificing bandwidth for that. A unique capability at that time!
On 12 June 2020, LOFAR celebrates its tenth anniversary. The radio telescope is the world’s largest low frequency instrument and is one of the pathfinders of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which is currently being developed. Throughout its ten years of operation, LOFAR has made some amazing discoveries. It has been a key part of groundbreaking research, both in astronomy and engineering. Here we feature some – but definitely not all – of these past highlights, with surely more to come in the future.