| For a few years now it is a regular appointment for the LOFAR community to meet in the spring and review the current 'state of affairs' of the array both in terms of its operational status and of its new scientific highlights. This year the 'LOFAR family meeting' took place between 4-7 April in Zandvoort aan Zee, and featured 3 workshops: the '3rd LOFAR Users Meeting', 'the 2016 LOFAR Community Science Collaboration Workshop' and the 'ILT technical operations meeting'.
The Users Meeting - held on Monday, April 4 - was open to the whole LOFAR community and provided a forum for users to both learn about the status of the array as well as give feedback on LOFAR operations and development. Members of the Radio Observatory gave updates on the current operational status, ongoing developments, and plans for the coming years. Among the important enhancements introduced in the system, the addition of new international stations to the array, the introduction of new software functionality into the operational system, and new techniques to improve the quality of LOFAR images were presented. Representative users from the community were also invited to share their personal experiences about using the system. The Radio Observatory answered questions and gathered a lot of important feedback that will be used to improve the user experience during the coming months.
The Users Meeting paved the road to a two-day LOFAR Community Science Workshop where members of the LOFAR collaboration presented their latest science results and shared ideas and experiences about doing science with LOFAR. The science workshop program covered the gamut of the LOFAR science case from cosmology and extragalactic research to Galactic and solar system topics. The talks featured an amazing range of results.
On Thursday 7 April, the ILT Technical Operations Meeting gathered together members of the technical staff from the various international LOFAR stations to discuss issues related to station operations, scheduling, and maintenance.
Shown here is the LOFAR Science Meeting picture, taken on the Zandvoort beach just before the workshop dinner.