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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.

Diversity & Sustainability

ASTRON is committed to achieving a fair, welcoming, and sustainable work environment for all.


Met onze radiotelescopen nemen wij de meest zwakke signalen uit het heelal waar. Daardoor zijn zij kwetsbaar voor elektromagnetische storing. Met het tijdig treffen van de juiste maatregelen kan storing worden voorkomen.

Wireless Data Lab

Draadloze techniek lijkt vanzelfsprekend, maar de ontwikkeling ervan gaat niet vanzelf. Daarom hebben we bij ASTRON een proeftuin ingericht; het Wireless Data Lab.

Making discoveries
in radio astronomy

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

LOFAR ERIC: Distributed Research Infrastructure for European Astronomical Research Launched

LOFAR ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium) has been officially launched at its first Council meeting today. The world-leading LOFAR (LOw Frequency ARray) Distributed Research Infrastructure has already revolutionised low-frequency radio astronomy research, resulting in an avalanche of scientific publications in the past decade. LOFAR ERIC is now a single legal entity across the European Union. The LOFAR ERIC statutory seat is in Dwingeloo, the Netherlands, hosted by NWO-I/ASTRON (Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy; the original designer of LOFAR).

Published by the editorial team, 22 January 2024

Telescope quartet reveals surprising statistics of cosmic flashes

Scientists led by Chalmers astronomer Franz Kirsten have studied a famous source of repeating fast radio bursts – a still unexplained cosmic phenomenon. Comparing with earlier measurements, the scientists draw a conclusion with far-reaching consequences: any source of fast radio bursts will repeat, if watched long enough and carefully enough. The research team, a unique collaboration between professional and amateur radio astronomers, used four telescopes in northern Europe, amongst which ASTRON’s Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope.

Published by the editorial team, 4 January 2024

Dutch astronomers prove last piece of gas feedback-feeding loop of black hole

Three astronomers from the Netherlands have proven that gas that was previously heated near a supermassive black hole and flowed to the outskirts of the galaxy and cooled down, is moving back towards the black hole. While there had been indirect evidence for this theory, this is the first time that the cooled gas moving toward the black hole has actually been observed.

Published by the editorial team, 7 December 2023

Super sharp images reveal a possible hypernebula powered by a source of fast radio bursts

A team led by astronomers in the Netherlands have confirmed a repeating FRB source to be linked to a potential ‘hypernebula’ – a dense and highly magnetised cloud of plasma that is illuminated by a powerful but still mysterious source.

Published by the editorial team, 30 November 2023

Astronomers discover ultra-fast radio bursts in archived data

ERC Starting Grant Awarded to Dr. Aditya Parthasarathy

Radio waves leaking from large satellite constellations could jeopardize astronomical exploration

Pulsar clocks open new window on gravitational waves

Astronomers discover Fast Radio Bursts that skewer nearby Galaxy

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Milliarcsecond Localisation of the Hyperactive Repeating FRB 20220912A

© Hewitt

FRB 20220912A is one of the most active fast radio burst (FRB) sources known to date. During the peak of its activity, it accounted for a few percent of the entire all-sky rate of FRBs above a fluence threshold of 100 Jy ms! Thanks to this, it has been the focus of numerous follow-up campaigns.

In a recent MNRAS paper by Hewitt et al., we used the European VLBI Network (EVN) to detect 150 bursts from this hyperactive source, allowing us to localise it to a precision of a few milliarcseconds - hundreds of times more precise than the previous localisation precision. These efforts are part of our ongoing EVN-Lite project, PRECISE, which aims to localise repeating FRB sources to the highest-possible precision. We showed that FRB 20220912A resides closer to (yet still offset from) the center of its host galaxy, which was earlier identified using a localisation from the Deep Synoptic Array 110 (DSA-110).

The background in the images above is a deep R-band optical image taken with Keck II/ESI (kindly shared with us by Vikram Ravi). The 90% error ellipse of the DSA-110 localization is overplotted in white, and the contours of a catalogued Apertif (APTF) radio continuum source in grey. Our EVN position is shown by the cyan cross, which falls just outside the DSA-110 localisation ellipse. We found no compact persistent radio continuum source in our EVN observations, meaning that the APTF emission is likely due to star-formation in the host galaxy as opposed to a compact nebula powered by the FRB source.

Milliarcsecond localisations such as these will be particularly useful in the coming era where optical telescopes such as the Extremely Large Telescope will be able to match the angular resolution, allowing us to zoom-in on the local environments of FRB sources at the (sub-)parsec level. Imagine finding stellar counterparts to FRB sources by resolving the population of massive stars in the host galaxies!

ASTRON daily image.


Wed 06 Mar 2024

Techniek en wetenschap voor jongens? Wát een onzin! Op woensdagmiddag 6 maart organiseren we daarom speciaal een dag voor meiden van 10 tot 12 jaar in onze Open Science Hub in het Huis van Drenthe. Een leuke middag vol met leuke activiteiten en leerzaamheden over de ruimte. Kom jij ook? We openen de deuren van […]


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