LOFAR is a fibre-connected antenna stations concentrated near Exloo, The Netherlands, and extending into Germany,France, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The data processor in located in Groningen, The Netherlands.
The Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) is a brand-new and uniquely powerful telescope operating at low frequencies, 10-240 MHz, for studies ranging from the Sun to the early universe, with a sensitivity orders of magnitude better than previous telescopes. LOFAR is an array of 40 antenna stations in the Netherlands and 8 stations in France, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom; stations in other countries are in the planning stage. All stations are connected by fibre to the high-performance central data processing and archive facilities in Groningen, The Netherlands and further distributed systems. Dedicated LOFAR software has been developed to process and analyse the data for specific astronomical applications.
The ILT was founded under Netherlands law in November 2010, following an MoU cementing the collaboration between national LOFAR astronomy consortia in France, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom signed on the day of the array's dedication (June 12, 2010). The ILT Board, which sets the overall science policy for the exploitation of all LOFAR facilities, has representatives from ASTRON and all participating national LOFAR astronomy consortia. Individual institutional partners, such as station owners, commit resources (LOFAR hardware and other facilities, money, and effort) that together cover the annual operations budget approved by the ILT Board. Individual antenna station owners make these available for ILT operations without transfer of ownership, and the ILT does not employ personnel. ASTRON, seated in Dwingeloo, the Netherlands, is the coordinating operational entity within the ILT; it employs the ILT Director, and commits the bulk of the annual operational resources. The ILT formally started its full functions on 1 January 2011.
Since 2009 ASTRON's Radio Observatory has been conducting initial operations with LOFAR, in an intensive observing programme consisting of commissioning and early science projects, with increasing hardware and software availability. As of 2012, the ILT will have stable common-user operations for the first fully-fledged sciece programmes using an initial set of telescope modes. In parallel there will be continued development of software for more complex and processing-intensive applications.
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e-mail: polatidis [at] astron [dot] nl
Oude Hoogeveensedijk 4
7991 PD Dwingeloo