ASTRON Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, together with the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), will organise and host the third International SKA Forum on Tuesday 15 June in the province of Drenthe, the Netherlands.
Published by the editorial team, 31 March 2010
This will be the first time that the International SKA Forum will be held in Europe. It will be a unique opportunity to develop further European and global collaboration in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. The choice of the Netherlands as host of the International SKA Forum confirms the prominent position this country has in the field of radio astronomy.
The International SKA Forum 2010 will highlight the many opportunities SKA offers to all sectors of society, and aims to advance the process of securing wide support and significant European and global funding for the project.
Inauguration of LOFAR
The Forum takes place alongside various other events, including the formal inauguration of the International LOFAR Telescope (ILT) on the 12th of June in Exloo, the Netherlands. The LOFAR (the Low Frequency Array) telescope, a pathfinder for the SKA, is designed and built by ASTRON.
The conference is expected to attract several hundred delegates from across the globe, including leading radio astronomers, parliamentarians and funding agency officials involved in the development of the SKA.
The SKA programme is a global collaboration involving 70 institutions in 20 different countries. ASTRON, with the support of NWO, is a leading member of the SKA programme, playing a crucial role in defining the science case and developing advanced technologies that will be required in order to realise the new telescope.
More information about the International SKA Forum 2010 can be found on: www.astron.nl/iskaf2010.
ASTRON is the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. Its mission is to make discoveries in radio astronomy happen, via the development of novel and innovative technologies, the operation of world-class radio astronomy facilities, and the pursuit of fundamental astronomical research. ASTRON is part of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). For more information about ASTRON, see: www.astron.nl.
The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) is the national funding body for scientific research and its mission is to facilitate excellent scientific research in the Netherlands by means of national competition. Each year NWO allocates more than 700 million euro to grants for top researchers, innovative instruments and equipment, and institutes where top research is carried out. NWO funds the research of more than 5300 talented researchers at universities and institutes. Independent experts select funding proposals in a peer review process. NWO facilitates the transfer of knowledge to society. For more information about NWO, see: www.nwo.nl.
About the SKA
The Square Kilometre Array will be the leading international radio telescope for the 21st Century. The total collecting area will be approximately one square kilometre giving 50 times the sensitivity, and 10,000 times the survey speed, of the best current-day telescopes.
More than 70 institutes in 20 different countries, together with industry partners, are participating in the scientific and technical design of the SKA telescope. The construction of the telescope is expected to begin in 2013 with a target cost of €1,5 billion.
The SKA will address fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe including how the first stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang, how galaxies have evolved since then, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and the search for life beyond Earth. More information about the SKA: www.skatelescope.org.
LOFAR, de Low Frequency Array, is designed and built by ASTRON. LOFAR exists of about 25,000 antennas, spread over fields (stations) in a large central area of approximately 400 hectare between Exloo and Buinen in the Netherlands, and in the provinces of Groningen and Friesland. LOFAR stations in other countries have also been built and more are added. All stations are connected with a supercomputer by glass fibres. In this way, the system is actually a giant telescope with a diameter of 100 kilometers in the Netherlands and over 1,000 kilometers when the international stations are connected. The LOFAR telescope opens a new window to the Universe, by observing at very low radio frequencies. Compared to conventional radio telescopes, LOFAR can map very large parts of the sky. By observing tens of millions of sources, it is expected new phenomena will be discovered. For more information about LOFAR, go to: www.lofar.nl.