On Saturday 12 May, ASTRON Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy will participate in the open days of the EU (in Dutch: EU Kijkdagen) of the Northern Netherlands Provinces (SNN). During these days, organisations in the Netherlands that received funding from the EU will open their doors to the public. ASTRON invites visitors to come visit LOFAR, the biggest radio telescope in the world. Here they can become an astronomer or an engineer for one day and perform a live observation with an antenna of the LOFAR telescope, get a tour around the telescope, learn everything about a radio telescope even bigger than LOFAR and make a virtual journey through the Universe.
Published by the editorial team, 8 May 2012
For ASTRON, this day is about the LOFAR telescope, but also about the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The SKA is a global project in which twenty countries cooperate to build an even bigger and more sensitive radio telescope than LOFAR. The SKA will be built in South Africa and Australia. Internationally, ASTRON is one of the most important players in the project. In the Netherlands, ASTRON works together with industry in the SKA-NN project (SKA Northern Netherlands), to strengthen its position in the race to build the SKA. They do this by designing and developing intelligent, autonomous sensor systems for large infrastructures, necessary for the SKA. Because of the cooperation between science and industr, this technology could eventually also be employed in fields as health care, telecommunication, safety and mobility. SKA-NN is being funded by the EFRO-programme of the European Committe (EC), the Koers Noord-programme and by the provinces of Drenthe and Groningen.
The activities on the open day are suitable for young and old. Kids can participate in the funlab and solder together their own flashlight. They can also design their own pulsar in the pulsar lab. Kids and adults can relax and lean back in soft cushions on the mobile planetarium and enjoy a journey through the universe. Astronomers and engineers of ASTRON give tours at the LOFAR telescope and show how they contribute to the Square Kilometre Array. Besides the funlab all activities are free. The open day takes place at the Exloërweg 13 in Buinen. Free parking is possible on the location.