In addition to the 40 Dutch antenna stations, LOFAR has 14 antenna stations elsewhere in Europe. Just like the antenna stations in the Netherlands, the European stations also send their observation data via fibre optic connections to the central processor (CEP) of LOFAR at Groningen.
Supermassive black holes can leave a trail of energetic particles that astronomers are able to detect using radio telescopes. Usually the radio emissions from these particles fade away and become invisible.
The day-to-day LOFAR operations require highly specialized monitoring and control systems. We use a system that easily enables us to visualize any values we put in our database in a graphic interface or time-sequenced graphs.
With the help of LOFAR, astronomers have been able to indicate the presence of a planet around a red dwarf star and with that, prove a theory that was composed with observations of Jupiter and its moon Io.
It has been known since the 1970s that the radio structures made by jets from black holes come in two types: very powerful jets are brightest at the edges and weaker jets are brightest in the middle and fade out at large distances.
In 2013 an international research team – led by Dutch astronomers (SRON, NOVA and ASTRON) – discovers that pulsar PSR B0943+10 can both radically change the amounts of radio waves and X-ray waves it emits within seconds.
In 2017 LOFAR detects the slowest spinning radio pulsar to date. The neutron star spins around once only every 23.5 seconds almost three times more slowly than the slowest spinning radio pulsar detected up to that point (8.5 seconds).