LOFAR The Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) is an interferometer of fibre-connected antenna stations operating at low frequencies 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 38 antenna stations in the Netherlands (concentrated near Exloo) and currently 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.

LOFAR is operated by ASTRON on behalf of the International LOFAR Telescope (ILT) a foundation under Netherlands law (since November 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.

Following an active period of commissioning from 2009 to 2012, LOFAR has started its scientific operations in Dec 2012, offering bi-annual operation cycles open to the whole astronomic community. Each cycle offers a diverse set of standard observing capabilities. In parallel there is continued development of software for more complex and processing-intensive applications.



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A. Polatidis
e-mail: polatidis [at] astron [dot] nl
Oude Hoogeveensedijk 4
7991 PD Dwingeloo
The Netherlands








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