LOFAR

The LOw Frequency ARray, LOFAR,is a radio telescope working at the lowest frequencies accessible from Earth. Combining many thousands of simple dipole receivers (just like the one in your radio at home) with the latest in high tech computing, LOFAR will be able to survey wide areas of the sky all at once and will open up a new window for astronomers.

When completed, LOFAR will consist of over 5,000 separate antennas spread in "stations" all over Europe. The main project is based in the Netherlands, and most of the array will be there, but outposts are planned in Germany, France, Sweden, Poland and the UK. Several stations are now working, and the array was officially opened in June 2010.

Artists impression of the locations of possible LOFAR stations:

LOFAR-UK

In the UK, LOFAR-UK is the largest astronomy collaboration in the country, involving scientists from 22 partner universities (Aberystwyth, Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Durham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hertfordshire, Leicester, Liverpool John Moores, Kent, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Open University, Oxford, Portsmouth, Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL), Sheffield, Southampton, Sussex, and UCL) as well as STFC/RAL and the UK ATC .

LOFAR-Chilbolton

The first LOFAR "station" to be built in the UK is based at the Chilbolton Observatory in Hampshire. The first parts were delivered Autumn 2009, installation occured over the summer of 2010 and the site was opened by Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell in September 2010.

This is an aerial shot of the Chilbolton observatory showing how it looked before any LOFAR installation - the dish you see is the 25m radar. The LOFAR station is located to the lower right of the image.

And this is an aerial shot taken from a balloon showing how things looked in July 2010 in the middle of the LOFAR installation (many thanks to Tim Freegarde (Southampton Physics) and friends for providing us with this! ).

And an image of the completed station taken on October 12th 2010

Other nice images of Chilbolton can be found in our blog section Best Images as well as below.

Movies relating to LOFAR-UK can be found in our blog section LOFAR-UK Movies

Website Header Images

Our header images rotate randomly through the below:

A panorama of the site taken on the morning on 28th August 2010. It shows both LOFAR fields; the solid-packed HBA on the left and the sparse LBA to the right. In the background is the 25m dish at the main Chilbolton Observatory compound. In the picture there are two containers. The blue one directly behind the HBA is the skip where surplus construction materials are stored (it was be removed from the site shortly after this was taken). The other, just beyond the right-hand edge of the HBA field is the RF-container. The main Chilbolton Observatory building is just to the left of the 25m dish.

Derek McKay-Bukowski (installation manager) checking the alignment of an LBA (long band antenna) during Chilbolton installation in June 2010. (Credit: Chris Ison, Press Association, reproduced with permission)

Wide angle shot of LBA installation at Chilbolton in June 2010, showing the 25m dish in the background. (Credit: Chris Ison, Press Association, reproduced with permission)

Panoramic shot of groundworks at Chilbolton in April 2010. Credit: Mal Clarke.

A slice though the aerial shot of the Chilbolton Observatory before any LOFAR installation (as described above)

The first light LOFAR image from 3 stations in the Netherlands

High Resolution LOFAR Image of 3C61.1 (as discussed on our blog)

STFC support for LOFAR-UK

LOFAR-UK Statement on the STFC Science Prioritisation 2010-2015 (which recommended cutting all STFC funding for LOFAR).