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).
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.
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:
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”
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.
“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.
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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.
Head of I-LOFAR
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 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.
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.
I-LOFAR Briefing at EU Parliament
- 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)
Enterprise Ireland Conference Room, Park View, 180 Chaussee d’Etterbeek, 1040 Brussels (14:30 – 18:00)
We are delighted to announce that Offaly County Council has been awarded planning permission for the LOFAR radio telescope array and visitor centre in Birr Castle Demesne.