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Two ERC Starting Grants awarded to (space) weather research projects with the LOFAR radio telescope

Submitter: Mark Bentum
Description: The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded two of its prestigious Starting Grants to ASTRON scientists for research projects using the LOFAR radio telescope. One project will use LOFAR to create detailed images of lightning on Earth, the other aims to detect space weather events and magnetic fields around exoplanets.

ASTRON staff astronomer and University of Groningen assistant professor Dr. Harish Vedantham has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant to detect space weather events and magnetic fields around exoplanets for the first time. With this STORMCHASER grant, Harish and his team will be able to detect telltale signatures of plasma ejections on stars other than the Sun. It will be an important factor in figuring out which stars are likely to have habitable planets.

Dr. Brian Hare (Kapteyn Astronomical Institute at the University of Groningen and ASTRON) will lead the project LIFT (Lightning corona Imaging From a radio Telescope), which will make use of the LOFAR radio telescope to create unprecedented images of lightning that are precise and detailed enough to allow for direct comparison with state-of-the-art lightning models.

LOFAR is currently being upgraded to LOFAR 2.0, giving it even better timing accuracy and a wider frequency band for this research.
Copyright: Harish Vedantham, Brian Hare, Olaf Scholten and ASTRON
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