Big Day For Birr With Launch Of Solar Observatory

AN IMPORTANT day in the history of Birr Castle took place on Saturday afternoon when a new space observatory was officially launched. This new observatory could be part of something very exciting indeed because it is possible that one day it could detect the existence of extra-terrestrial life. If the project comes to fruition it will also be part of a system which will expand our knowledge of the early evolution of the universe.

The new Observatory is called the Rosse Solar-Terrestrial Observatory and it is located in former farmsheds and fields in the Mount Palmer section of the Demesne. A number of antennae are already in place in the Mount Palmer area, the farm sheds have been considerably renovated, and €300,000 has been raised for the project. Fundraising efforts are currently underway to raise another €1.2 million for the scheme, and the Castle and Trinity College Dublin are appealing to the business people of Birr and Offaly to financially support this exciting project.
Businessmen Dermot Desmond and Denis O’Brien have both contributed €50,000 each to I-LOFAR. Birr businessman Stevie Grant has also contributed a significant amount. The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation is currently considering whether it will give funding to I-LOFAR and is due to make an announcement on the matter during July.
Speaking during Saturday’s launch Brendan Parsons Lord Rosse said his ancestors, the 3rd and 4th Earls, would have been very excited and proud to see this new development. He said that in terms of ambition and breaking new ground, this project was on a parallel with the giant telescope constructed in the demesne in the 1840s. He pointed out that the Third Earl studied in Trinity College Dublin. He said the renovated farmsheds were built during the 5th Earl’s time, who brought over an agricultural adviser from Denmark. ‘He was more interested in agriculture than in science.’ He said the I-LOFAR project is a dynamic and exciting scheme.
Professor Peter Gallagher, School of Physics, Trinity College, recalled that he first visited the farmsheds four years ago and they were full of sheep. Now the sheep have been moved elsewhere and have been replaced by a building devoted to Astrophysics. He commented that the Rosse Solar-Terrestrial Observatory is already a working observatory. He said the antennae which are already in situ and working are able to pick up radio waves being emitted by the sun. Clouds are not a barrier to their ability to function.
Professor Gallagher added that the antennae are also able to monitor the Earth’s ionosphere which can be helpful in forecasting disruptions in communication systems. He pointed out that one of the Birr antennae detected a major solar burst and this fact was reported in ‘Nature Physics’, a leading Science magazine.
‘The ambition is to convert the farmsheds into a lecture area suitable for visiting students.’ The Professor added that while raising €1.2 million may seem like a large sum of money, in the context of science projects it is not a large sum. He praised Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy who, he said, has been very supportive of I-LOFAR, including travelling with an I-LOFAR, fund-seeking delegation to the EU Parliament earlier on in the year.
I-LOFAR is the name for the Irish version of this international project with the ‘I’ standing for ‘Irish’ and ‘LOFAR’ standing for ‘Low Frequency Array.’
‘Birr’s tradition and radio-quiet environment make it an ideal location for being part of what is, when all the radio telescopes throughout Europe are combined as one, the largest low frequency radio telescope in the world,’ said the Professor. ‘I-LOFAR will not only attract additional visitors to Birr, but will contribute to Ireland emerging as a key player in international research and development.’
I-LOFAR will be part of an international network of radio telescopes which are referred to as LOFAR. LOFAR is currently up and running on a Europe-wide basis with about 60 radio telescopes throughout the continent including Sweden, France, Britain, Germany and Holland (there are 42 radio telescopes in Holland). €150 million in funding has been invested in the project and this funding has come from National Science Agencies and the European Regional Development Fund. The aim of LOFAR’s work includes providing new views of exploding stars, and detecting previously unknown planets. Each radio telescope consists of multiple antennae. LOFAR will enable  the study of Black Holes (which were predicted by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity).
‘Lord and Lady Rosse have been nothing short of magnificent since we first came to Birr,’ remarked Professor Gallagher. ‘On every visit they have been very hospitable to us.’ He complimented George Vaugh for helping renovate the farmsheds. ‘George did a great deal of work including bringing gravel to the area, as well as electricity. Our name for the sheds now is the control room. This is a good start and I think we have a bright future.’
Dr Patrick Prendergast, the Provost of Trinity College, said he was delighted to be present. He said the connection between Trinity College and the Parsons family goes back hundreds of years. It was a connection which was devoted to the love and pursuit of knowledge. It was a connection which was dedicated to science and which also possessed a strong sense of public service.
He commented that as a student in Trinity in the 1770s Sir Lawrence Parsons, the second Earl, was an auditor in the university. He represented Dublin University in the Irish House of Commons. ‘We are very proud of him in Trinity College. As an MP he spoke strongly for independence and integrity. He was praised by Wolfe Tone who said he was one of the few honest men in the Irish House of Commons.
‘The Third Earl was a truly remarkable man who in 1845 constructed the Hubble telescope of its time, which is an extraordinary piece of scientific heritage for Ireland. Using his telescope the Third Earl drew the very first images of the Milky Way. He possessed the same qualities of integrity and decency as his father. He was a vocal critic of the government in London during the famine and he told them the situation was desperate. He was an important voice of compassion and economic sense. In 1862 he was made a chancellor of Trinity.’
The Provost said the Third Earl handed on his passions and enthusiasms to his children, and the Fourth Earl’s brother, Algernon, invented the steam turbine.
He said the current Earl, the 7th Earl, has continued the great family tradition of a love and pursuit of knowledge. He said the 7th Earl was recently elected an honorary member of Trinity College.
‘Today is another milestone in the Parsons family’s long commitment to science. I want to thank them for their marvellous generosity. To engage in astrophysics in a place which is crucial in the history of astrophysics is something special.’
Lord Rosse said that when the giant telescope was officially opened in 1845 a local clergyman walked up and down the inside of the barrel of the telescope blessing it as he went. He asked two local clergymen, Archdeacon Wayne Carney and Fr Tony Cahir, to bless I-LOFAR in Birr using water taken from St Brendan’s Well in the demesne.
Fr Cahir quoted Pope Francis who recently, during an astronomers’ convention, pointed out that, ‘It is only right that men and women everywhere should have access to research and scientific training. The hope that one day all people will be able to enjoy the benefits of science is one which spurs all of us on, scientists in particular. Only a fraction of the global population has access to such knowledge, which opens the heart and the mind to the great questions which human beings have always asked: Where do we come from? Where are we going? The search for an answer to these questions can lead us to an encounter with the Creator, the loving Father, for in him we live and move and have our being.’
Archdeacon Carney quoted from the Book of Sirach: ‘All creation obeys His will. He declares what is past and what will be. Not a thought escapes Him. Nothing can be added to him, nothing taken away. Who could ever grow tired of gazing at His glory?’
If you would like to make a donation to the I-LOFAR project please contact Professor Gallagher at (087) 6568975.

Trinity’s New Observatory in Birr to Illuminate the Sun-Earth Connection

The Rosse Solar-Terrestrial Observatory, which will be opened on Saturday, June 28th, will be used to help better understand solar phenomena affecting everyday life on Earth

Details: 3 pm, Saturday, June 28th, 2014 at Birr Castle Demesne, Birr, Co. Offaly (attending press/photographers are advised to arrive by 2:45 pm to ascend the observatory).

Dublin, June 27th, 2014 – The Rosse Solar-Terrestrial Observatory – a Trinity College Dublin School of Physics teaching and research facility devoted to studying the Sun and its effects on Earth – will be officially opened with a ceremony at Birr Castle Demesne, Co. Offaly, on Saturday June 28th.

The Sun is an enormous ball of hot gas, which keeps our planet hot enough for life to flourish. From time to time though, huge clouds of hot solar gas can be flung into space at hundreds of thousands of kilometres an hour. These ‘solar storms’ can endanger astronauts and cause problems for telecommunications and navigation systems here on Earth.

Scientists will use the observatory and its set of scientific instruments to work out when solar storms erupt from the Sun and when they hit the Earth’s upper atmosphere and magnetic field. Scientists at Trinity have developed the observatory at Birr Castle in the midlands of Ireland to monitor the effervescent Sun’s nearly unpredictable outbursts.

Director of the Rosse Solar-Terrestrial Observatory and Associate Professor in Physics at Trinity, Peter Gallagher, said: “We are delighted to reignite scientific research at Birr and to honour one of Ireland’s greatest innovators of the 1800s, the 3rd Earl of Rosse, by naming the observatory for him.”

Trinity has established links with Birr that stretch back over a century and a half. Indeed, the 3rd Earl was Chancellor in 1862–1867, the 4th Earl was Chancellor in 1885–1908 and the 6th Earl was Pro-Chancellor in 1949–1979. The observatory will enable researchers to study the Sun and its effects on the Earth like no other facility in Ireland. A set of antennae will constantly monitor solar activity, while another antenna will monitor solar effects on a layer of the Earth’s upper atmosphere called the ‘ionosphere’. Ionospheric disturbances can cause drop-outs in high-frequency communications with aircraft. An additional instrument, called a magnetometer, which is operated jointly with the Geophysics Section of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, will continuously monitor disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field. These ‘geomagnetic storms’ can cause deflections in compasses and surges in electricity power grids.

 Professor Gallagher added: “A facility like this will also enable Irish students to gain valuable hands on skills in programming, electronics, antennas, and cutting-edge scientific research at a working observatory. Physics graduates are in great demand in high-tech companies and end up working in a wide range of sectors including IT, finance, engineering, education, which are all areas of particular importance to the development of the smart economy in Ireland.”

LOFAR Test Array Back Up and Running Better than Ever

The LOFAR Test Array is operational once again in the midlands of Ireland after a short break during which upgrades were made to Rosse Observatory (www.rosseobservatory.ie).

Luckily enough, only a couple of days after the LOFAR LBAs went up, solar activity was detected in the form of Type III solar radio bursts. The bursts detected show that the setup is running with increased sensitivity offering the possibility to detect some of the fainter solar activity. It now compares well with the other antennas hosted at Rosse Observatory.
The official opening of Rosse Observatory will take place inside the grounds of the Birr Castle Demesne on June, 28. We hope to see many science enthusiasts visiting the observatory on the opening day.

All-sky Movie Recorded by a Single LOFAR Station

During the weekend of 30th of may – 1st of June, the Solar Physics group in Trinity College conducted LOFAR Observations using a single LOFAR international station located in Chibolton, United Kingdom.

The Sun was fairly quiet at the time with only a couple of Type III radio bursts observed, but the observations also offered the possibility to make full sky maps during the course of an entire day. The movie below shows the evolution of celestial objects in the sky during the course of a day as observed by a single international LOFAR station.

The aim is to build an international LOFAR station in Ireland and perform more of these observations in the future directly from the midlands.

Clear Skies in Birr for Radio Astronomy

The Trinity Solar Physics Group has been working hard over the past three years setting up instruments to measure the causes and effects of solar storms from their observatory in Birr in the Irish midlands. To date, they they have installed a number of antennas to monitor solar radio bursts at 10-400 MHz, a magnetometer, and most recently, a 4-element LOFAR Low Band Antenna (LBA) test array. But this is just the start, and a collaboration of Irish universities now plan on installing a LOFAR station in Birr. To assess the suitability of Birr as a site for a LOFAR station, the LOFAR team in Holland kindly lent us a LOFAR High Band Antenna (HBA) in spring/summer 2013. The first radio frequency interference (RFI) survey was carried out in May 2013 using the HBA, which is sensitive to frequencies in the range 100 – 300 MHz. The results shown in the figure below are impressive showing that Birr has relatively clean spectrum in this range, making it a good site for a LOFAR station.

A survey covering the LOFAR LBA range of 10-80 MHz was also undertaken in April 2013 using our Schwarzbeck bicone antenna. As can be seen below, the spectrum at very low frequencies is also quite clean:

Shown below are spectral overviews taken in June 2009 at the Rosse Observatory (blue) compared with Bleien Radio Observatory in Switzerland (red; offset by 10 dB) and Potsdam Bornim (green; offset by 20 dB). The Rosse Observatory spectrum is quiet at all frequencies! It appears the RFI situation has changed little at the Rosse Observatory since this survey was undertaken by Christian Monstien for the Callisto network which placed the observatory among the most RFI free sites surveyed worldwide in the frequency range of 45-870 MHz.
For a more technical description of our LBA and HBA RFI surveys of Birr, check out the July 2013 CRAF Newsletter.

LOFAR Colloquia at UCC and UCD

LOFAR Colloquia will take place at UCC and UCD in February, where the speaker, Prof. Ralph Wijers from the University of Amsterdam, will discuss the capabilities of the International LOFAR Telescope (ILT), its scientific aims and the present status of the ILT together with science results that have already been published. The speaker will also cover some of the challenges ahead and lessons learned to achieve full exploitation its capabilities.

UCC: Monday, February 3rd, 4pm in room B10A in the Kane Building in UCC.

UCD: Wednesday, February 5th, 4pm in room 1.28, Science Centre North (Physics Building), Belfield

Speaker: Prof. Ralph Wijers, University of Amsterdam

Title: “LOFAR: overview, status, and early results”

Abstract:

The LOFAR radio telescope, now officially the ILT, was built by The Netherlands with Germany, UK, Sweden, and France, and can still accommodate expansion. It is a versatile interferometer operating in  the 20-80 and 110-240 MHz frequency ranges, observing the low-frequency sky to unprecedented sensitivity and resolution. It scientific aims range from the epoch of Reionisation to the Sun, from planets to black holes to cosmic rays, and to general exploration of the unknown in the deep sky and in time domain astronomy. I will present a brief overview of the raw capabilities, the present status of ILT and some nice science results that have already come out. I will also discuss some of the challenges ahead and lessons learned to achieve full exploitation ILT’s capabilities.

Engineers Ireland Lecture: “The Radio Universe: Astronomy at Long Wavelengths”

“An Chruinne Raidió: Réalteolaíocht ag Tonnfhaid Fhada” 

“The Radio Universe: Astronomy at Long Wavelengths”

le hAralt Mac Giolla Chainnigh, Royal Military College of Canada

Ó d’fhionnaigh Karl Jansky astúchán raidió ó fhoinsí neamhaí go luath sna 1930í, tá borradh tagtha ar réalteolaíocht raidió. Sa léacht seo, déanfar léargas ar an chruinne ag tonnfhaid raidió, agus ar an teicneolaíocht a dhéanann staidéar uirthi a éascú. Ina dhiaidh sin, pléifear tionscadal nua: Tionscadal Eagar an Chiliméadair Chearnógaigh (Square Kilometer Array Project). Ceaptar go mbeidh tionchar réabhlóideach ag an uirlis raidió seo ar ár dtuiscint ar roinnt mhaith de mhórmhistéirí na cruinne: cad é mar a thagann réaltraí chun cinn; cad is “Fuinneamh Dorcha” ann; an réitíonn timpeallachtaí ollréimsí domhantarraingthe de chuid na bpulsár agus na ndúpholl le Coibhneasacht Ghinearálta; cá as a dtagann ollréimsí maighnéadacha sa spás; cad é mar a chruthaíodh na chéad dúphoill agus réaltaí; an ann don bheatha in áiteanna eile sa chruinne? Pléifear ról na hÉireann san Eagar Ísealmhinicíochta (Low Frequency Array, LOFAR) san Eoraip chomh maith, cloch chora ar bhealach Eagar an Chiliméadair Chearnógaigh.

Láthair: 22 Br. Cluaidhe, Baile Átha Cliath 4

Am: 19:30, Déardaoin 30ú Eanáir 2014

Since the discovery of celestial radio emission by Karl Jansky in the early 1930s, radio astronomy has grown dramatically. This talk will provide an overview of the universe at radio wavelengths, and the technology that has facilitated its study. A new project will then be discussed: the Square Kilometre Array. This radio instrument promises to revolutionize our understanding of many of the great mysteries of the universe: how do galaxies evolve; what is Dark Energy; are the strong-field environments of pulsars and black holes consistent with General Relativity; what generates giant magnetic fields in space; how were the first black holes and stars formed; is there life elsewhere in the universe? Ireland’s role in the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) in Europe, a stepping stone to the Square Kilometer Array, will also be discussed.

Venue: 22 Clyde Road, Dublin 4

Time: 19:30, Thursday, 30 January 2013 

An t-Aoichainteoir: Aralt Mac Giolla Chainnigh

Dr Aralt Mac Giolla Chainnigh, Ollamh Taca i Rannóg na Fisice i gColáiste Ríoga Míleata Cheanada (Royal Military College of Canada), Kingston, Ontario. Baineann a chuid taighde le múnlú timpeallachtaí im-réaltaí (Réaltaí Siombóiseacha, Dé-réalta X-ghathacha), in astúchán raidió. Ó thaobh réaltléimh de, bhain sé úsáid as mór-eagair an domhain, mar shampla: Very Large Array (Meicsiceo Nua), Eagar MERLIN (Ríocht Aontaithe), Teileascóp na hAstráile (an Astráil), agus Trasnamhéadracht Ollbhunlíne (Very Long Baseline Interferometry). Is gníomhaí teanga i ndomhan na Gaeilge é an Cainneach fosta, agus é mar chathaoirleach ar choistí stiúrtha de chuid Ghaeltacht Thuaisceart an Oileáin Úir agus Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada.

The Speaker: Dr. Aralt Mac Giolla Chainnigh

Dr. Aralt Mac Giolla Chainnigh, is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Physics at the Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Ontario. His research has involved the modelling of the circumstellar environments of Symbiotic Stars, and X-ray Binaries, in radio emission. Observationally, he has made use of many of the major interferometric arrays in the world, including the Very Large Array (New Mexico), the MERLIN Array (UK), the Australia Telescope (Australia), and Very Long Baseline Interferometry. Dr. Mac Giolla Chainnigh is also a primary promoter of the Irish language in Canada, chairing the governing bodies of Gaeltacht Thuaisceart an Oileáin Úir and Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada.

Treoracha/Directions: http://www.engineersireland.ie/about-us/contact/where-we-are/ 

Saor-chead isteach. Fáilte roimh chách.

Tuilleadh eolais ó: Diarmaid Ó Muirgheasa (diarmuid@domuircheasa.com) nó ó: Fionn Ó Muircheartaigh (fmurtagh@gmail.com).

Trinity Launches I–LOFAR Alumni Campaign

Trinity has a long and distinguished tradition in astronomy and philanthropy. Dating back to the 1780s, a bequest from Provost Andrews funded the first Chair of Astronomy and the construction of Dunsink Observatory.

In recent years, astronomical research at Trinity has gone through a renaissance; the popular undergraduate degree in Physics and Astrophysics was established, and the School’s Astrophysics Research Group has grown to new heights. Such is the international reputation of Trinity Astrophysics, that a paper by the group was published on the front cover of the December 2013 issue of Nature Physics.

But this is just the start. The School now leads an all-Ireland consortium of universities that aims to bring a cutting-edge European radio telescope – LOFAR – to Ireland. We are asking for your support to make this happen.

LOFAR leads the way for a new generation of digital radio telescopes. These telescopes give astronomers fresh insights into the early universe after the Big Bang, find new planets, and enable us to better understand our closest star, the Sun. The current Earl of Rosse is so enthused by the Irish LOFAR project that he has generously donated the use of the remarkable site in the Birr Castle Demesne. This builds on Ireland’s great scientific heritage of the Birr Leviathan Telescope.

In order to realise an Irish LOFAR station, we need to raise €1.5 million. We have already received donations from alumni and leading figures in Irish business and we are now delighted to invite you to help bring LOFAR to Ireland.

Follow in the footsteps of Provost Andrews and help us to make LOFAR a reality in Ireland. Your gift will help build the LOFAR station, and will make a lasting difference to the School’s national and international reputation.

The LOFAR station will ensure that both Trinity and our young and emerging innovators can benefit from opportunities that the LOFAR project allows us to access.

Thank you for taking the time to read this email. do hope that you can support this important project and share our ambitions with your friends and family.

With many thanks for your support, and best wishes for the New Year.
Professor James Lunney
Head of TCD School of Physics
Professor Peter Gallagher
Head of I-LOFAR

PS. If you make a gift today, your generosity will be recognised at www.lofar.ie and in the Trinity Donor Report. Thank you.

Funding Sought In Europe For Birr Castle Radio Telescope Project

A MAJOR scientific project to be based in Birr, was showcased in the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday, where funding is being sought for the Birr Castle Radio Telescope Project.
The Irish LOFAR project aims to establish a next-generation radio telescope at Birr Castle. LOFAR (Low Frequency Array) is a next-generation radio telescope that is currently being deployed across Europe, with stations already operating in the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, the UK and France. Other stations are planned in Italy, Poland, Latvia and Ireland. Speaking at a special seminar in the European Parliament on Tuesday, where details of the ambitious project were unveiled to MEPs and the European Commission, MEP Mairead McGuinness said the potential of the project to place a LOFAR (Low Frequency Array) telescope in Birr was beyond imagining.

The event in Brussels was also attended event organiser Peter Gallagher Associate Professor of Physics at Trinity College Dublin, and key note speakers Brendan Parsons, Earl of Rosse and descendant of William Parsons who built the Leviathan telescope in Ireland, Joe Hogan the founder of Irish network operator software vendor Openet and European Entrepreneur of the Year 2013, and Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy. Mairead McGuinness said ‘it was inspiring to listen to Brendan Parsons, the Earl of Rosse, outlining why he believes that this development was the most logical and most productive successor to the great Leviathan telescope developed by his ancestor William Parsons, the third Earl of Rosse in 1845.’ ‘The proposed site in Birr Castle Demesne is extremely radio quiet, making it ideal for radio frequency astronomy. It has established itself through history as a place of science and innovation in a rural setting.
I-LOFAR delegation at the EU Parliament. From left to right: Prof. Peter Gallagher (I-LOFAR lead/TCD), Lord and Lady Rosse, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy (TD), Mairead McGuinness (MEP), Dr. John Quinn (UCD), Clodagh Memery (TCD Foundation), Prof. Rene Vermeulen (International LOFAR Telescope Director).

‘The funding requirement of €1.5 million would be money well spent,’ McGuinness added.
The I-LOFAR project will give Irish researchers access to an additional tool for astrophysics and ICT research; our greater understanding of mathematics, physics and technology will be invaluable for students. The town of Birr, where the Irish LOFAR will be situated, is going to be transformed into an “E-Town” and a destination for the ICT industry.

 Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD, local FG deputy told the meeting that the project would bring ‘enormous benefits’ to the midlands.  ‘A local fund raising group has been established to bring the project to the region. The project has huge importance for regional enterprise development and in giving today’s children an opportunity to engage with science in the future.’ Deputy Corcoran Kennedy also offered her full support to the project and committed to ensuring that there was political support for the project.

Lord Rosse said Birr would have a very unique scientific attraction if the project went ahead. ‘It is important to see the development of I-LOFAR in the context of a great scientific tradition,’ he said.
The project thus far has raised €300,000 with the ultimate target being €1.5 million. Birr has to fundraise €750,000, 50 per cent of the total cost.

This week Cllr Michael Loughnane of Birr Town Council pointed out that in the overall scheme of things €750,000 is not a large sum of money and a similar project in Poland costing several million Euro was financially supported by the EU. ‘If this exciting project goes ahead,’ he remarked, ‘it will be good for Birr because it will mean we will have one of the fastest broadband systems in Ireland, which in turn could attract businesses to open in the town.’ Cllr Loughnane called on Minister Richard Bruton to give some capital funding to this project.

Birr might also benefit from a significant increase in visitors to the town, as it’s likely that large numbers of students and tourists will visit a proposed visitor centre.

Professor Gallagher said I-LOFAR will give Ireland an opportunity to join a flagship international science project which is revolutionising our understanding of the universe. For €1.5 million investment, Professor Gallagher explained, Ireland can build a world-class radio telescope in Birr and join a €150 million European network of radio telescopes – a project which would be the largest international science project that Ireland has ever participated in.

The radio-telescope bears no resemblance to a traditional telescope constructed of lenses mounted in a cylindrical eyepiece, but is instead an array comprised of several large black panels resembling solar-panels positioned close together in a field.  The radio telescope in Birr will be connected by fibre-optic cable to Europe via Birr Technology Centre, establishing Birr as the most connected location in the midlands – drawing the attention of technology companies seeking a location to establish their business.  Prof. Gallagher said that he is hopeful the proposed telescope might someday bear fruit worthy of winning a Nobel Prize and that its creation would allow connections to be forged between universities and businesses, as well as fascinating students and inspiring them to study science, technology and mathematics at undergrad and postgrad levels.  He explained Birr is a perfect location for its construction because it is flat and does not suffer from radio interference to the same degree as many other locations in Europe. So silent is the radio interference in Ireland, Prof. Gallagher explained, that some Dutch scientists recently declared Ireland to have as little radio interference as Mongolia.
Prof. Gallagher recalled that in July 2010 Lord Rosse gave Prof. Gallagher and his team access to some outhouses accommodating sheep near the Wetherlock. Immediately they set about installing the necessary electrical supply to feed a working observatory and Prof. Gallagher said that it was the first step towards understanding the location and setting up a workable link with Trinity College in Dublin.

I-LOFAR at the EU Parliament in Brussels on November 5

I-LOFAR Briefing at EU Parliament

Meeting room WIB 05M003 (12:00 – 12:30)

Speakers will include: 

  • Mairead McGuinness (MEP)
  • Prof. Peter Gallagher (I-LOFAR Lead/Trinity College Dublin)
  • Joe Hogan (Openet/European Entrepreneur of the Year 2013)
  • Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy (TD – Member of Irish Parliament)
  • Sir Brendan Parsons (Earl of Rosse)

I-LOFAR Lunch at EU Parliament

Members Restaurant (12:30 – 14:00)

I-LOFAR Symposium

Enterprise Ireland Conference Room, Park View, 180 Chaussee d’Etterbeek, 1040 Brussels (14:30 – 18:00)

Session I chaired by Leo Enright
14:40 – 15:00 The LOFAR Radio Telescope and Multi-disciplinary Sensor Network
 Prof. Mike Garrett (Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy (ASTRON) Director)
15:00 – 15:20 An Opportunity for Europe and Ireland: I-LOFAR
Prof. Peter Gallagher (Irish LOFAR Lead/Trinity College Dublin)
15:20 – 15:40 Inspiring the Next Generation of Innovators
Dr. Pedro Russo (EU Universe Awareness International Manager)
15:40 – 16:00 Coffee
Session II chaired by Peter Gallagher
16:00 – 16:20 Astronomy and Innovation – An Entrepreneur’s Perspective
Mr. Joe Hogan (Openet CTO/European Entrepreneur of the Year 2013)
16:20 – 16:40 Building the Polish LOFAR Telescopes
Prof. Andrzej Krankowski (POLFAR Vice-Director)
16:40 – 17:00 EU R&D and Smart Strategies
Mr. David Harmon (EC Research & Innovation)
17:00 – 17:30 Discussion
If you would like to attend any of the events above, please email svea.miesch@iscintelligence.com