During the Netherlands Astronomy Conference in Nunspeet, the Pastoor Schmeits Prize for astronomy will be awarded to Dr. Jason Hessels - affiliated with both ASTRON and the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy of the UvA (University of Amsterdam).

Published by the editorial team, 23 May 2016

The prize is awarded every three years to a Dutch astronomer who has made a scientific contribution of exceptional importance before the age of 40. The prize board choses the winner based on nominations from the Dutch astronomical community.

Jason's research focuses on the study of radio pulsars and so-called "fast radio bursts", objects that emit very strong radio emission for a short time. The radio pulsars are associated with neutron stars, the remnants of massive stars; the origin of the fast radio bursts is still unclear, but they appear to be objects well outside our Milky Way galaxy.

Jason was involved in a number of important discoveries in this area of research: the fastest-rotating pulsar, a pulsar in a system consisting of three stars (a double-double star) and most recently a repeating fast radio burst, which showed eleven eruptions since 2012.

Jason is also one of the pioneers of pulsar research with the new radio telescope LOFAR. This research is groundbreaking and rewarded with several prestigious research grants from NWO and the European Research Council. Jason also recently became a member of the Young Academy of the KNAW.


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On June 13-17, the LOFAR Family Meeting took place in Cologne. After two years LOFAR researchers could finally meet in person again. The meeting brings together LOFAR users and researchers to share new scientific results.

Our renewed ‘Melkwegpad’ (Milky Way Path) is finished! The new signs have texts in Dutch on the one side and in English on the other side. The signs concerning planets have a small, 3D printed model of that planet in their centre.
#Melkwegpad @RTVDrenthe

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The background drawing shows how the subband correlator calculates the array correlation matrix. In the upper left the 4 UniBoard2s we used. The two ACM plots in the picture show that the phase differences of the visibilities vary from 0 to 360 degrees.

Daily image of the week: Testing with the Dwingeloo Test Station (DTS)
One of the key specifications of LOFAR2.0 is measuring using the low- and the highband antenna at the same time. For this measurement we used 9 lowband antenna and 3 HBA tiles.