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The Ulrich J Schwarz Radio Interferometer

Submitter: Sander ter Veen and Marijke Haverkorn
Description: On Friday 29 June 2012, the Netherlands officially gained a new radio interferometer. On that day, the Ulrich J. Schwarz Radio Interferometer of the Department of Astrophysics at the Radboud University in Nijmegen was opened. The radio interferometer (RIF) consists of two 3.5-meter dishes on the roof of the Huygens Building, the home of the Astrophysics Department, observing in the frequency band of the 21cm line of neutral hydrogen.

An interferometer has existed for decades at the Radboud University. However, the move to the new building was an incentive to update both mechanics and electronics thoroughly, so that the RIF is now a state-of-the-art telescope again. We are excited to use it to train students, as part of the regular curriculum and for Bachelor and Master projects. Also, certain ASTRON/JIVE/CAMRAS affiliates are suffering from a lack of dish (why?) and have expressed their interest to come visit and work with the RIF. Of course they are very welcome to.

The telescope is the namesake of Ulrich Schwarz, a pioneer in radio astronomy who was mostly based in Groningen. Ulrich started his career with Dwingeloo observations in 1957. As an aperture synthesis expert, he was much involved with the WSRT from its the early days, and played a large role in the mathematical understanding of the CLEAN deconvolution algorithm. He also specialized in neutral hydrogen observations (co-)authored many papers mainly in this area, from compact HII regions to High Velocity Clouds and from the Galactic Centre to external galaxies. When at the Kapteyn Institute in Groningen, for many years Ulrich was responsible for the PQRS (the Paddepoel Quasi Radio Synthesis telescope), an instrument similar (same colour!) to the one depicted here and which was used for many years in the curriculum at Groningen.

When he moved to Arnhem after his retirement, Ulrich became the guardian of the RIF. He supervised the use of the RIF within the physics student curriculum. During the move to the new Huygens building he provided the inspiration and overview for the complete refurbishment of the Radio Interferometer. Please see here for more information.
Copyright: Paul Groot
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