ASTRON is responsible for the operations of the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) and the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR).


The astronomical research at ASTRON is closely aligned with the strengths of our facilities LOFAR and WSRT-APERTIF.

Research and Innovation

Radio astronomy delivers important breakthrough technology for our society.

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Making discoveries
in radio astronomy

ASTRON is the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, and is part of the Institutes organisation of NWO.
Humans of ASTRON: Lesley Goudbeek

In Humans of ASTRON we share stories about the people at ASTRON. Lesley Goudbeek has been design engineer at ASTRON since 2013.

Humans of ASTRON: Harish Vedantham

In Humans of ASTRON we share stories about the people at ASTRON. In this episode we interview Dr. Harish Vedantham, junior scientist and working at ASTRON since 2018.

Cosmic flashes come in all different sizes

On May 24, four European telescopes took part in the global effort to understand mysterious cosmic flashes. The telescopes captured flashes of radio waves from an extreme, magnetised star in our galaxy.

Data release from the first year of the Apertif imaging surveys

The Apertif imaging team has released science data from the first year of science operations of WSRT-Apertif as the Apertif Data Release 1 (DR1). Now the entire astronomical community can access the data collected by Apertif in its first year of observing, which started on 1 July 2019.

First direct detection of a brown dwarf with a radio telescope
Humans of ASTRON: David Prinsloo
Humans of ASTRON: Bernard Duah Asabere
First phase of DISTURB completed
Humans of ASTRON: Ágnes Mika
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Colloquium: What can the spider web tell us ? A new pulsar story

© Guillaume Voisin

Spiders are a recently defined class of millisecond pulsars in binary systems: the so-called black widows feature a very low-mass stellar companion (typically Mc <0.05 Msol), and the so-called redbacks feature a low mass companion ( 0.1Msol < Mc < 0.5 Msol typically). In both cases, the companion orbits the pulsar very closely, with periods of a few hours only.

This promiscuity means that the companion is strongly affected by the pulsar: tidal effects, irradiation, and even evaporation. The bright side is, quite literally, that all these effects result in various observables that shine a light on parameters describing orbital properties (mass ratio, inclination...), or the pulsar wind composition and energetics. However, this comes at the cost of increased complexity and systematic uncertainty as one needs to model and calibrate the response of the companion star to these gravitational and radiative excitations by the pulsar.

Conversely, this opens new windows to probe the stellar physics of the companion, constrain the yet unclear evolution of these systems, and perhaps elucidate their connection to x-ray binaries and isolated millisecond pulsar formation.

In this talk, we will explore these different questions through a subjective selection of examples and recent modelling results concerning both the timing of these pulsars and the their companion's light curves. The image represents the modelled surface temperature map of the redback companion of PSR J2215+5135 (


Applied RF technology course

Mon 17 May 2021 - Thu 20 May 2021

The RF course is an excellent introduction for Digital / Analog engineers who are or will be involved in the development of RF systems.


Latest tweets

The Dutch astronomy magazine @ZenitNL devoted an article to our solar radio telescope DISTURB. You can read the article here:

We've made a new video of our walking route the #Melkwegpad. via @YouTube

Daily image of the week: DR1. The Apertif imaging team has released science data from the first year of science operations of WSRT-Apertif, which can now be accessed by the scientific community.
#radioastronomy #DR1

In about half an hour, at 12.15, ASTRON researcher @AJBoonstra will be live in the Dutch radio programme 'Zoek het uit!' on @RTVDrenthe to answer some questions about the Westerbork synthesis radio telescope. You can tune in here:
#WSRT #radioastronomy