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Startrails at the institute

Submitter: Zsolt Paragi
Description: These buildings in the Dwingelderveld Heide, next to the Dwingeloo Radio Telescope, host two astronomical institutes, ASTRON and JIVE. Both are leading institutes in radio astronomy. ASTRON is the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, and it operates the distributed radio telescope interferometer arrays LOFAR and WSRT-APERTIF. JIVE is a European Research Infrastructure Consortium, and it operates the central data processor and the data archive of the European VLBI Network (EVN). The EVN includes some of the greatest radio telescopes on Earth from the Americas, Europe, South Africa, and Asia.

In radio astronomy, scientists study the deep skies through the radio waves (invisible to our eyes) received by antennas of few tens to few hundred meters in diameter. The technique of very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) plays a crucial role in studying enigmatic phenomena such as fast radio bursts (FRB), the production of relativistic particle streams (jets) in the aftermath of merging binary neutron stars that produce gravitational waves, and in the making of the first “image” of a supermassive black hole (popularly known as the black hole shadow).

The Dwingelderveld Natural Park that hosts these buildings offer some of the darkest skies you can find in the mainland Netherlands. This picture is a homage to the beauty of the Drenthe night skies, and to the institutes that conduct cutting edge research in astronomy.
Copyright: Beata Budai and Zsolt Paragi
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