| On Wednesday June 24, 2015, exactly 45 years, on the day, after Queen Juliana opened the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope under the guidance of Jan Oort, the receivers, correlator, backend and everything else of the WSRT were shut down for the last time in a mindfull ceremony attended by many of the key players of the 'old' WSRT system. This system has been in use since about 15 years and has delivered top science on pulsars, AGN, galaxy structure, VLBI and many other topics. With this system, the WSRT was one of the world's frontline radio telescopes in the last decade. For those who care about these details: the final observations were of a pulsar whose final 'heartbeats' could be heard slipping away, followed by silence...
As is common on such occasions, the mood was reflective and grateful for all the good things the telescope has brought in the last 15 years. Many of the attendants expressed gratitude for the privilege to have been part of it all. It was a wonderfull instrument.
Although the demise of the MFFE's, the DZB and the IVC marks the end of an amazing era, and many of us feel slightly sad about this, the actual reason to switch off the WSRT is that now we can install phased-array feeds on the WSRT dishes and change the WSRT into Apertif. This will change the type of science the WSRT will be doing and will ensure it will rermain a relevant telescope in the times that we prepare for SKA....
You should expect the first data of the new system in August.. Stay tuned... It will be fun!!