| On Dec 16th 2014, ASTRON and the lead scientists from Hamburg Observatory and the University of Bielefeld have signed the official handover of the 6th German LOFAR Station DE609, which is located in Norderstedt.
Since this date, significant effort was devoted by various people working at and in collaboration with ASTRON to make sure that the new station would be ready for production observing as soon as possible at the beginning of the new year.
The observing campaign to record calibration data has already delivered good calibration tables for the supported HBA modes. In the meantime, the new station has been included in test observations that helped to highlight a few remaining network issues preventing proper data recording when adopting 9 international stations in the LOFAR observing setup. Thanks to the intensive testing performed by the Radio Observatory personnel, these network problems have been identified and solved on February 4th 2015.
On the same day, DE609 participated successfully in the first LOFAR observation correlating a record 71 stations, of which 48 are core stations, 14 remote stations and 9 international stations! The plot above shows the visibility amplitude of the various stations included in this observing run and it highlights that signal was successfully recorded from all 9 LOFAR international stations. DE609 successfully participated to the first Cycle production run the same evening.
Each LOFAR station adds valuable collecting area to the ILT, thus allowing astronomers to detect ever-fainter signals. The placement of the new station is such that it provides critical intermediate baselines, thus improving the imaging capabilities of the LOFAR array. 3 more international LOFAR stations are being built in Poland and will become part of the array by the end of the year.
|R. F. Pizzo