ASTRON reveals life cycle of supermassive black hole

For the first time LOFAR and WSRT-Apertif have been used together to measure the life cycle of supermassive black holes emitting radio waves.

First direct detection of a brown dwarf with a radio telescope

Astronomers at ASTRON  have discovered a brown dwarf with LOFAR. The discovery of the object dubbed Elegast, opens up a new path that uses radio telescopes to discover faint objects that are close-cousins of Jupiter-like exoplanets.

Simultaneous optical and radio observations of Perseids

From today (August 11th) up until Friday the yearly Perseids meteor shower will have its peak. This phenomenon is not only interesting for amateur astronomers, professional astronomers will be observing them as well.

What we look forward to in LOFAR 2.0: Live warning system to study solar eruptions

The Sun’s activity appears not only in the well-known 11-year Sunspot cycle, but also in short duration eruptions as flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs).

What we look forward to in LOFAR 2.0: Habitability of alien worlds

The Earth receives its life-sustaining energy from Sunlight, but “explosions” on the Sun can also be life-threatening. Explosions on the Sun’s surface, called flares, can spew out large masses of plasma and harmful radiation towards the planets.

What we look forward to in LOFAR 2.0: Cranking up LOFAR’s robustness

In order to receive radio signals from across the Universe, LOFAR needs to be very sensitive. The downside of that sensitivity is susceptibility to radio interference: other sources that produce radio signals that LOFAR detects, but does not want to measure.

What we look forward to in LOFAR 2.0: LOFAR expands to Italy

In 2018, Italy officially joined the International LOFAR Telescope (ILT) and in the near future the LOFAR station in Italy will become operational.

What we look forward to in LOFAR 2.0: A new specification and scheduling system

In 2021, ASTRON will deliver TMSS (Telescope Manager Specification System), which is a brand-new platform for the specification, administration, and scheduling of LOFAR observations.

What we look forward to in LOFAR 2.0: High-precision clock to all Dutch stations

In the LOFAR radio telescope, the observation data is synchronized over time for accurate processing of the received signals. Until now, the telescope uses GPS techniques to synchronize the observation data, achieving an accuracy between 1 ns and 10 ns.

What we look forward to in LOFAR 2.0: Detecting SMBH particles

Supermassive black holes can leave a trail of energetic particles that astronomers are able to detect using radio telescopes.

What we look forward to in LOFAR 2.0: A brain transplant for LOFAR

If the antennae of LOFAR are the senses of the radio telescope, then the central correlator is its brain. It is the place where all the data streams come together and are converted into astronomy data.

What we look forward to in LOFAR 2.0: Simultaneous LBA and HBA observing

LOFAR uses two types of antennas. Each type listens to different wavelengths of the radio spectrum. Different wavelengths provide complementary information about the Universe and its constituents.

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Congratulations to our former colleague and LOFAR scientist Heino Falcke with his prize! 🥳

How does a radio wave become a picture? Part II: Compact receivers. A radio wave that has travelled light years is picked up by a receiver on a telescope through an antenna. The (very weak) signal is then amplified and digitized. Read part 2 here:

How does a radio wave become a picture? Planets, stars and nebula’s all emit radio waves, which are a form of invisible light waves. Read here the first part on what happens to those radio waves when they are received by a radio telescope! 📡🌠

What's it like to work at ASTRON?
Project manager @PieterBenthem tells about his job, among which his work on the AAVS1 for the @SKA_telescope, of which LOFAR is a pathfinder project.