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Solar Eclipse through Radio Eyes

Submitter: Michiel Brentjens
Description: On March 20 2015, a partial solar eclipse was visible from the Netherlands. That is, if one could look through clouds. Fortunately the LOFAR radio telescope does so effortlessly. We decided that it would be fun to live-tweet pretty radio images of the solar eclipse, and indeed it was. To enable making these P.R. maps while several scientific LOFAR eclipse observations (PI C. Vocks, AIP) were conducted, we were forced to use various capabilities that LOFAR officially does not have.

The images shown here were observed in the high band from 115 to 170 MHz, while low band observations were happening using the very same stations. Every frame consists of 5.5 seconds of data, recorded at a cadence of once per 5 minutes.

Soon after the first images appeared on twitter, an ad-hoc team of colleagues showed up in the control room to volunteer their services. In the end we had Roy van der Werp (media contacts and Astron overview page about the solar eclipse), Jan David Mol and Wouter Klijn (social media and notification of various web sites), Tammo Jan Dijkema (creating and updating movies of the eclipse up to the latest image, see movie), Ronald Halfwerk (Astron branding, and creating of eclipse movies combined with introductions to LOFAR and Astron), and Michiel Brentjens (observations and imaging).

RTV Drenthe recorded a nice item about the only place in the Netherlands from which the eclipse could be followed from start to end.

Today, these images will be presented at the Dutch Astronomer's Conference (#NAC2015).
Copyright: (c) Astron 2015
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