One sentence summary: The DRAGNET project greatly extends LOFAR's detection and localization capabilities for pulsars and fast radio transients.

DRAGNET stands for Dynamic Radio Astronomy of Galactic Neutron Stars and Extragalactic Transients.


Studying the extreme astrophysics of neutron stars, black holes and other exotica is key to understanding fundamental gravitational and particle physics. Extreme astrophysical phenomena are fleeting, however, and it is a major observational challenge to detect such fast “transients”.

DRAGNET extends LOFAR with a high-speed, wide-angle radio camera mode that is capable of detecting and localizing fast radio transients in real time. We will scan the sky for sub-second bursts coming from previously unpredicted or unobserved astrophysical phenomena, while simultaneously observing hundreds of known radio-emitting neutron stars (pulsars).

The DRAGNET project started in Jan 2014 and runs for 5 years. It is funded by an NWO VIDI and an ERC Starting Grant (+ some funding from NOVA) covering about 8 fte over 3 institutes.

Work Packages

  • WP1: Wide-field transient searches
  • WP2: Developing DRAGNET++
  • WP3: Neutron star monitoring
  • WP4: Characterizing the transient radio sky
  • WP5: Understanding neutron star magnetospheres


Projects and Partners

LOTAAS and DRAGNET searches


Project Members

  • Jason W. T. Hessels (ASTRON, University of Amsterdam) (PI)
  • Vlad Kondratiev (ASTRON) (science postdoc)
  • Cees Bassa (ASTRON) (science postdoc)
  • Alexander S. van Amesfoort (ASTRON) (technical developer (until Oct 2017))
  • Daniele Michilli (University of Amsterdam) (PhD)
  • Amruta Jaodand (University of Amsterdam) (PhD)
  • Sotiris Sanidas (University of Amsterdam) (science postdoc)
  • TBD (Oxford University) (technical developer)

Operations Pages


  • Cluster Usage: login, environment, hostnames, job submission with SLURM, …
  • System Software: raw list of non-default system settings and installed applications on top of ansible config


The LOFAR slides site also contains most DRAGNET science and technical presentations (.pdf).



Daily Images

ASTRON & JIVE daily image (AJDI) submissions (or contributions) by DRAGNET(-paid) project members.

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