Jets from Black Hole in Radio Galaxy

The enigmatic radio galaxy Cygnus A is one of the brightest objects that LOFAR can see. This image by John McKean, who is now with the Square Kilometre Array team in Manchester, shows plasma jets from the black hole that stretch 2,000 light-years from the core of Cygnus A.

The Universe Through LOFAR Radio Eyes

A montage of radio images of star formation, jets, galaxies, stars, and the Sun obtained by the International LOFAR Telescope. LOFAR is opening up new frontiers on the Universe at low radio frequencies (10-240 MHz).

Galaxies, Galaxies Everywhere

This sensitive, wide-field LOFAR image at 150 MHz contains more than 5,000 radio sources in an area of the sky that is about ten times the size of the full moon. The majority of the sources are galaxies containing an active black hole producing jets of relativistic particles. Credit: Wendy Williams (Leiden), Reinout van Weeren (Harvard) and Huub Rottgering (Leiden).

Posters, Papers, and Falcons!!!

Week 4:

This week I started with reading Diana (Post Doctorate) thesis; where I covered solar activity; and solar cornea where I looked at the flare energy release; I also looked at evaporation, non-thermal electrons, electrons, radiation, accelerated particles, magnetic loop, hard-x-rays, nuclear gamma rays, and the chromosphere, and the photosphere, and the solar cornea and the GOES (Spacecraft) Flare classification.

Aoife Ryan a PhD student working with Prof. Peter Gallagher sent me a link to online lectures on solar cornea.

In codify we covered numpy, arrays, and plotting (inputting data and labeling the axis and title the plot)and how to use different plots (histogram etc.).

My next assignment for codify is to read in two columns of data and plot them. Then work out how much the stock has decreased by since its peak in 2014.

On Tuesday I continued reading Diana (Post Doctorate) thesis and covered solar radio bursts and the types of radio bursts (Type I, Type II, Type III, Type IV), and solar S bursts.

I started on my fourth codify project, where I completed the first part of my assignment, that is to read in the two columns of data and plot them.

I also become a  student member of WITS Ireland (Women in Science & Technology).

On Tuesday evening at the Trinity Biomedical Science Institute (TBSI) I attended a PhD poster presentation as Ioana one of the PhD students in the office was presenting her poster on the “The Early Look of Core-Collapse Supernovae”. There was a prize given out for the dean of research which “Ioana poster won , it was brilliant!

I also spoke to other PhD students who were researching cervical cancer, cornea transplants (using pig’s cornea as there is a lack of human donors), and Nano research in fuel cells.

I continued Diana pager on plasma physics and magnetohydrodynamic (when plasma oscillations can happen),and magnetic reconnection.

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) Zoology Society had falcons and owls on display on the physics grounds it was amazing!.( and you can follow them on Facebook. IMG_2936

On Thursday I completed my coding assignment. I have to say that Python is such a nice, easy language to learn, very straight forward and the graphs it produces are very clear, and also the range of graph styles you can use is fantastic. I can say that I will be using Python in my finial year at college and onward in my career.

I also continued Diana’s paper and covered Particles Acceleration, and Radio Emission (brightness of blackbody radiation, intensity of radiation, thermodynamics).

I hope everyone has a HAPPY ST.PATRICKS DAY!!!!

Week Of Reading

Week 3:

Started my week of with reading the paper on “LOFAR: The Low Frequency Array”; were I covered the Processing Pipeline (Standard, Long-Baseline, Known Pulsar, CR Event, Transient Detection) and then I looked at the system performance (System Stability), were I looked at the High Band Antenna (HBA) and the Low Band Antenna (LBA).

I also became a member of “GitHub”( a programming community to share code and help other from around the world.

In Codify I covered creating a list and commands, making 2d lists, and 3d lists; we got an in-class assignment to make a function pick lotto numbers and not repeat the numbers it has already picked, at the end of the class we covered a little on while loops. My third assignment is to write a function or code which will sort a list of elements.

On Tuesday I covered the system performance (UV-Coverage; and Angular Resolution) with an angular resolution equation; and the bandpass; and beam characterization.

For lunch, there was a woman in science lunch were women and men in science had lunch together and discussed issues women face in science. It was interesting but as a young women scientist I have yet to experience any negativity to me being in physics.

On Thursday I read “LOFAR: The Low-Frequency Array”, continued reading the section on system performance, where I covered sensitivity, confusion noise, RFI environment, Image Quality, and Beam-Formed Modes.

I finished reading the “LOFAR: The Low Frequency Array”; where I covered the Key Science Drivers: Epoch of reionization, surveying the low-frequency sky, the transient radio sky (Gamma-ray burst (GRBs)), Pulsar studies and survey (82MHz), Astroparticle Physics, Magnetic Field in the universe, Solar physics, and space weather. Then I covered the Current and Future Developments: Final Construction, and Functionality Enhancement.

Diana a Post Doctorate gave me her thesis to read, which is on “LOFAR Tied-array Imaging and Spectroscopy of Solar Radio Bursts”.

On Friday we had our team meeting were we covered what each member of the team has been up to on their projects since the last meeting.

We got news that the I-LOFAR equipment will come into Dublin Docks on the 27th of April 2017, and will arrive at Birr on the 28th of April 2017.

I-LOFAR visit

Week 2:

Monday was a day of coding and reading research papers on LOFAR capabilities and design. My next assignment for codify is to write a code which will print the numbers from 1 to 100. If the number is divisible by 3, print “BISH!”. If the number is divisible by 5, print “BASH!”. If the number is divisible by both 3 and 5, print “BISHBASHBOSH!”.

Tuesday was an early morning heading to Birr to visit the I-LOFAR site. When we arrived we meet with the haling company that will be taking the equipment onto the site. There was also a BBC Northern Ireland film crew with us on site making a documentary on my supervisor first PhD student who is also a truck driver,and will be haling the LOFAR equipment from the Netherlands to Ireland. I also walked around the site of which LOFAR will be built on, and looked at the entries onto the site which the equipment is to be brought through.

During the week I also covered the Transient Buffer Boards; and the Local Control Unit; used in LOFAR and I then moved onto looking at the Wide Area Network and the central processing and started the software control infrastructure looking at monitoring and control systems; and the calibration of the LOFAR antennas paper.

Later on in the week I covered the monitoring and control system; and the system health monitoring (SHM); and the event triggers; and the Observing Modes; and Interferometric imaging; and the beam-formed modes (Coherent Stokes; Incoherent Stokes; and Fly’s Eye); and the direct storage modes.

I also had journal club last Friday were the Post doctorates covered the papers on “Extreme geomagnetic storms: Probabilistic forecasts and their uncertainties” and “Quantifying the daily economic impact of extreme space weather due to failure in electricity transmission infrastructure”; it was so interesting as they made the papers into power points, which we then had discussions on how these affect may affect Ireland.

Beginning of my 6 month journey

I am a third year physics student studying at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland. Part of my third year is to participate in a 6 month work placement. I have joined the Trinity College Dublin Astrophysics Group under the supervision of  Prof. Peter Gallagher; where I will be working on the I-LOFAR project. These blogs will be weekly and they will cover my time at Trinity College and the construction of the I-LOFAR project.

Week 1:

Starting with a late night workshop called Codify (; were we covered Spyder (Python 2.7). In class we covered the basics; such as spyder IDE (Interactive Development Environment); Installing Modules; Python Concepts; Standard Data Types; Basic Operators; Strings; Lists and Tuples; Indexing and Slicing; and functions.

Spyder (Python 2.7); assignment to write a function or script which asks the user for their height in feet and inches; and return their height in metres; and, asks for the user’s weight in stones and pounds, and return in Kg.

The paper “LOFAR The Low-Frequency Array” ( is the paper I have started reading through; which I have so far covered station configuration; Low Band Antenna; High Band Antenna; and Receiver Unit.

There are three different type of stations the first being the Control Station; which is based near Exloo, Netherlands (24 Control Stations). Then there are remote stations; which there are 14 of them in the Netherlands. The final type of station is the International Stations which there are 8 of them; with the 9th being built in Birr, Co.Offaly, Ireland.

RTE News website

A member of the I-LOFAR consortium has won €2 million in funding from the European Research Council to study the birth of stars and planets.

Professor Tom Ray from the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies (DIAS) won the prestigious Advanced Grant against stiff opposition from all over Europe.

The study will involve furthering Prof’s work in the area of exploring what the Solar System would have looked like 5 billion years ago when it began to form.

The proposal, named “Ejection Accretion Structures in Young Stellar Objects” or EASY will use cutting edge observational instruments like the James Webb Space Telescope, the European low frequency radio telescope LOFAR and the facilities of the European Southern Observatory, to improve our understanding of the complex processes involved.

This money will also be used to pay seven researchers at DIAS.

The organisation said the win was a vindication of its vision of the pursuit of excellence and curiosity-driven research.

“These awards are among the most highly sought after in Europe and are extremely difficult to win,” said Graeme Horley, SFI Programme Manager and ERC National Contact Point.

This article was first published on the RTE News website.



Gravitational Waves Detected from Black Hole Merger

Today was a momentous day for physicists, who have finally detected gravitational waves and verified Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The evidence is all in the figure below which shows signals of gravitational waves detected by the two LIGO Observatories. The signals came from two merging black holes 1.3 billion light-years away. The top two plots show data received at each detector, along with waveforms predicted by general relativity. The LIGO data match the predictions very closely. The final plot compares data from both facilities, confirming the detection.
Theorist predict that a mass equivalent to three solar masses was converted to gravitational waves in a fraction of a second — 50 times the power of the entire Universe! A new era of astronomy opens! Further information can be found at the Science Daily Website.
In Ireland, a consortium of universities are now building a radio telescope called LOFAR at Birr Castle which will play a vital role in testing Einstein’s theories of gravity using observations of black holes and the large-scale structure of the Universe.

Trinity Solar Physics Feature on Cover of Leading International Journal

Research from the School of Physics has been featured on the front cover of a leading European scientific journal, Astronomy & Astrophysics. Trinity graduate student Ms. Diana Morosan and her supervisor Prof. Peter Gallagher used observations of the Sun from the International Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) to study very short pulses of radio waves from the solar atmosphere. These radio bursts have been imaged for the first time by LOFAR and the results of their study have been published in a paper which featured in the August edition of Astronomy & Astrophysics. These bursts are less than 1 second long which made it challenging for previous radio telescopes to determine their location. These observations show the true potential of LOFAR in advancing the study of radio emission coming from the Sun.