A very brief description of LOFAR -- the Low Frequency Array
SourceHighlights of Astronomy, 14, (2007), pp. 386-387
Article / Letter to editor
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Research Institute for Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies
Research Institute for Religious Studies & Theology
Highlights of Astronomy
LOFAR (Low Frequency Array) is an innovative radio telescope optimized for the frequency range 30-240 MHz. The telescope is realized as a phased aperture array without any moving parts. Digital beam forming allows the telescope to point to any part of the sky within a second. Transient buffering makes retrospective imaging of explosive short-term events possible. The scientific focus of LOFAR will initially be on four key science projects (KSPs): 1) detection of the formation of the very first stars and galaxies in the universe during the so-called epoch of reionization by measuring the power spectrum of the neutral hydrogen 21-cm line (Shaver et al. 1999) on the ~5' scale; 2) low-frequency surveys of the sky with of order $10^8$ expected new sources; 3) all-sky monitoring and detection of transient radio sources such as gamma-ray bursts, x-ray binaries, and exo-planets (Farrell et al. 2004); and 4) radio detection of ultra-high energy cosmic rays and neutrinos (Falcke & Gorham 2003) allowing for the first time access to particles beyond 10^21 eV (Scholten et al. 2006). Apart from the KSPs open access for smaller projects is also planned. Here we give a brief description of the telescope.
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