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.


Met onze radiotelescopen nemen wij de meest zwakke signalen uit het heelal waar. Daardoor zijn zij kwetsbaar voor elektromagnetische storing. Met het tijdig treffen van de juiste maatregelen kan storing worden voorkomen.

Wireless Data Lab

Draadloze techniek lijkt vanzelfsprekend, maar de ontwikkeling ervan gaat niet vanzelf. Daarom hebben we bij ASTRON een proeftuin ingericht; het Wireless Data Lab.

Making discoveries
in radio astronomy

ASTRON is the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, and is part of the Institutes organisation of NWO.
ASTRON lanceert proeftuin voor ondernemers

Om onze kennis over het heelal te vergroten, verlegt ASTRON voortdurend de grenzen van de technologie in haar radiotelescopen. Deze expertise stellen wij nu ter beschikking om de innovatieve kracht van ondernemers te vergroten. Hiertoe lanceren we het Wireless Data Lab (WDL), een proeftuin waarmee ASTRON haar kennis en faciliteiten op het gebied van draadloze dataoverdracht beschikbaar stelt aan het bedrijfsleven en andere instellingen.

ASTRON-led consortium working on SKAO

A consortium led by ASTRON is developing important software components for processing the vast amounts of data that the soon-to-be largest radio telescope in the world will produce.

NenuFAR officially becomes a LOFAR super station

The low-frequency radio telescope NenuFAR will be connected to the international LOFAR telescope, operated by ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy.

Westerbork and the future of GigaHertz astronomy

The Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) has been a powerhouse of science since it began operations in 1968, making more than 50 years of discoveries in radio astronomy happen. Looking forward, we will strengthen our activities in Westerbork on VLBI, GNSS, data releases of the Apertif surveys, and developing next-generation technology for our instruments.

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LOFAR 2.0 Dwingeloo Test Station First Fringes


The LOFAR 2.0 upgrade of the station electronics will allow joint observations of the low frequency band (10-80 MHz) and the high frequency band (110-190 / 210-240 MHz). This, together with improved ionospheric calibration approaches will dramatically improve the spatial resolution and image quality. After five years of hard work, a prototype telescope station was installed at the antenna field close to the Dwingeloo telescope and the ASTRON headquarters. This Dwingeloo Test station (DTS) was opened recently, May 10th. One of the first milestones with a radio interferometer such as the DTS is showing that signals from a common source are coherent and can be correlated, or in other words showing phase information or 'fringes'.

The left figure shows a DTS fish-eye image of the sky at 88 MHz, using 6 low-band antennas in an East-West configuration, and with an integration time of 10 s. This image is dominated by an 88 MHz Smilde FM transmitter, located within a few degrees North, depicted by the white line. Clearly visible are the maxima and the spatial nulls when scanning along the horizon. As the array is configured East-West, the response of the array for fixed transmitters is (apart from the antenna element responses) constant in the direction perpendicular to the East-West line.

Encouraged by this 'first fringe' test, we tried to create a sky image. The image on the right is centered on the North Celestial Pole (NCP), local RFI will show up as concentric circles in such an image, which indeed are clearly visible. The image is based on 9 antennas, 7 subbands, and 4500 time slots or about 12 hours of observing. Cas.A is not (yet) visible in this plot as the image is not calibrated, and as the RFI is not subtracted. Please note that for an all-sky East-West interferometer such as the DTS the hemisphere below the equator will be folded back to some extent to the upper hemisphere. But this all will be part of the commissioning so stay tuned!

Credit to G. Schoonderbeek for the DTS station correlator data and M. Mevius for the data processing using GRATE software.


Latest tweets

Although beautiful, nature can cause problems around our LBA and HBO antennas. The dandelions can damage the COAX cables, making our maintenance work difficult at times. But we keep our antennas clear with the greatest respect for nature, or course.

Credit: Denis Schrama

Although beautiful, nature can cause problems around our LBA and HBO antennas. The dandelions can damage the COAX cables, making our maintenance work difficult at times. But we keep our antennas clear with the greatest respect for nature, or course.

Credit: Denis Schrama

This week @ASTRON_NL hosted the first consortium-wide Ice-Breaker event for the @EU_H2020 EXPOWER project (@ExpowerEu). Bringing together 8 universities, 3 research institutes, 7 companies from 9 countries.

Another great achievement by @ehtelescope! Our new director @astroTui was involved as well, as a member of the #EHT team.