By Peter Maat
In the LOFAR radio telescope, the observation data is synchronized over time for accurate processing of the received signals. Until now, the telescope uses GPS techniques to synchronize the observation data, achieving an accuracy between 1 ns and 10 ns.
To further expand the scientific possibilities of LOFAR, the accuracy of its time synchronization system will be improved in the coming time. Instead of using GPS, the Dutch part of LOFAR will be equipped with a new timing system that uses synchronous optical clock distribution via LOFAR's fiber-optic network. This clock system upgrade will be accomplished using state-of-the-art clock distribution technology capable of achieving timing accuracies of better than 100 ps.