Friday, June 24, 2011

An early look at LOFAR imaging results

The LOFAR station near Munich
Things are progressing quite nicely with the LOw Frequency ARray a.k.a. LOFAR. Despite the significant challenges involved with operating a radio telescope of its kind (maybe I'll post something about this one day), high quality data is now routinely being collected, and some very impressive images are being produced (see e.g. the ASTRON picture of the day from March 18th). Who knew that you could throw a bunch of relatively cheap dipole antennas on the ground and end up with a world class telescope? It's not been possible without a lot of hard work and ingenuity, I assure you. And while there are still many very complicated (and interesting) calibration and imaging issues left to solve, overall I would say that we are on the verge of producing scientific quality results.  

Don't believe me? Well, George Heald from ASTRON has just published a conference proceeding highlighting some of the recent achievements of a group of hardworking LOFAR commissioners. To this paper, I have contributed some results from our polarization commissioning efforts. Check it out. You can find it on the arXiv here:

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