ASTRON is responsible for the operations of the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) and the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR).


The astronomical research at ASTRON is closely aligned with the strengths of our facilities LOFAR and WSRT-APERTIF.

Research and Innovation

Radio astronomy delivers important breakthrough technology for our society.

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Making discoveries
in radio astronomy

ASTRON is the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, and is part of the Institutes organisation of NWO.
People of ASTRON: Pieter Benthem

In People of ASTRON we share stories about the people at ASTRON. Project manager Pienter Benthem has been working at ASTRON since 2008.

ASTRON reveals life cycle of supermassive black hole

For the first time LOFAR and WSRT-Apertif have been used together to measure the life cycle of supermassive black holes emitting radio waves.

Humans of ASTRON: Carin Lubbers-Leering

In Humans of ASTRON we share stories about the people at ASTRON. Carin Lubbers-Leering is HR assistant at ASTRON and has been working with us since 2000.

Humans of ASTRON: Lesley Goudbeek

In Humans of ASTRON we share stories about the people at ASTRON. Lesley Goudbeek has been design engineer at ASTRON since 2013.

Humans of ASTRON: Harish Vedantham
Cosmic flashes come in all different sizes
Data release from the first year of the Apertif imaging surveys
First direct detection of a brown dwarf with a radio telescope
Humans of ASTRON: David Prinsloo
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Detection of radio emission from the Tau Bootis system by LOFAR

© Obs. Paris/U. Cornell

William Langland once said: "Ac astronomye is an hard thyng, And yvel for to knowe" (In modern English: "Now, astronomy is a difficult discipline, and the devil to learn").

Langland did probably not think about beam-formed radio observations of extrasolar planets at that point (more than one century before the Copernican Revolution), but this quotation fits well: Since the beginnings of LOFAR, the search for exoplanetary radio emission in beam-formed data has been part of the science case. However, beam-formed data pose a lot of challenges, especially when searching for a weak and non-periodic signal. RFI slowed down data processing, and each observation had to be checked thoroughly.

Finally, after several years (centuries, from Langland's point of view!), here we are: As reported in a recent article by Turner et al. 2021, we have detected burst-like radio emission from the Tau Bootis system with a statistical significance of three sigma.

In order to confirm this detection and discriminate between stellar and planetary emission, we have already organized a multi-telescope follow-up campaign, including UTR-2, NenuFAR, LOFAR and the LWA. The data from this campaign are currently under analysis. Stay tuned - this time, it won't be centuries, Mr Langland!


Applied RF technology course

Mon 17 May 2021 - Thu 20 May 2021

The RF course is an excellent introduction for Digital / Analog engineers who are or will be involved in the development of RF systems.


Latest tweets

Congratulations to our former colleague and LOFAR scientist Heino Falcke with his prize! 🥳

How does a radio wave become a picture? Part II: Compact receivers. A radio wave that has travelled light years is picked up by a receiver on a telescope through an antenna. The (very weak) signal is then amplified and digitized. Read part 2 here:

How does a radio wave become a picture? Planets, stars and nebula’s all emit radio waves, which are a form of invisible light waves. Read here the first part on what happens to those radio waves when they are received by a radio telescope! 📡🌠

What's it like to work at ASTRON?
Project manager @PieterBenthem tells about his job, among which his work on the AAVS1 for the @SKA_telescope, of which LOFAR is a pathfinder project.