I-LOFAR – Exploring the Radio Universe from Ireland

Welcome to the Irish Low Frequency Array (I-LOFAR) website. I-LOFAR is the Irish station in a European-wide network of state-of-the-art radio telescopes, used to observe the Universe at low frequencies (10-240 MHz). With the award of €1.4 million from Science Foundation Ireland, the I-LOFAR consortium have built a cutting-edge astrophysics observing facility in Birr Castle, Co. Offaly, in the midlands of Ireland. This facility connects Ireland to the International LOFAR Telescope, which is one of the most sophisticated and advanced astrophysics research projects in the world. The integration of Irish astrophysics into such a large scale international astrophysics research facility allows Irish researchers to make ground-breaking advances in numerous fields of physics and data science, and inspire young scientists and engineers to pursue the advancement of Irish astrophysics for decades to come.

I-LOFAR

I-LOFAR is a low frequency radio telescope based at Birr Castle, Co. Offaly in Ireland. It connects to the International LOFAR Telescope network which stretches nearly 2,000 km from Ireland to Poland.

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Team

The I-LOFAR Consortium primarily includes researchers from Ireland and Northern Ireland, but also includes leading scientists from the UK, the Netherlands and the US.

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Education

I-LOFAR represents a great opportunity to engage with school children of all ages and teach them about the exciting I-LOFAR research in physics, engineering and data science.

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Support

I-LOFAR are seeking Donors to support this exciting project, following generous donations from Dermot Desmond, Denis O’Brien and Joe Hogan. Please contact Professor Peter Gallagher for further details.

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Focus on

Culture Night 2020: Astronomy in Birr Virtual Tour

Explore the historic and modern astrophysics research happening…

Consortium

Big Questions That LOFAR Could Answer

Are we alone in the universe?

LOFAR will enable scientists to search for planets in other star systems, and also to detect very weak radio signals from far away, perhaps indicating intelligent life.

How do clusters of galaxies, galaxies, stars and planets form?

LOFAR will provide clues to the processes forming the Universe today, including the origins of magnetic fields and cosmic rays, the birth of stars and planets, and perhaps the origin of life.

How does the sun affect the earth?

Solar storms can produce spectacular auroral displays, but large events can interrupt GPS, damage satellites, and disrupt power grids. LOFAR will track these disruptive storms, enabling us to better forecast their impacts at Earth.

What did the universe look like soon after the big bang?

LOFAR will take radio images of the Universe soon after the Big
Bang, enabling us to understand its origins and early evolution.

What are black holes?

These enigmatic objects were predicted by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. LOFAR will enable us to study black holes in the centre of distant galaxies with more detail than ever before.

Where can I see all of this?

Birr Castle, Birr, Co. Offaly, Ireland!

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Latest News

Ready for Space Explorers!

On June 5, 2018 we completed the refurbishment of our new I-LOFAR…
June 5, 2018/by Peter Gallagher

I-LOFAR used as part of the International LOFAR Telescope for the first time to Observe Flaring Star

The Irish LOFAR telescope at Birr reached a major milestone on…
March 9, 2018/by Peter Gallagher

Introduction to Science, Operations and Data Analysis with an International LOFAR Station

School of Physics, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin…
December 18, 2017/by Peter Gallagher

Honorary Doctorates for World-Leaders in Astronomy

This week, UCD and TCD awarded Honorary Doctorates to two…
December 8, 2017/by Peter Gallagher

I-LOFAR Consortium win SFI Award for International Engagement

Orlaigh Quinn (Secretary General of the Department of the Department…
November 17, 2017/by Peter Gallagher

I-LOFAR Education Centre Progress

The builders are back in Birr! In October 2017 our building contractor…
November 2, 2017/by Peter Gallagher

Watch the LOFAR TV documentary “13 Billion Light Years From Birr”

We're delighted to announce that the documentary on LOFAR is…
November 2, 2017/by Peter Gallagher

New radio telescope in Birr detects huge solar storms

Dublin, Thursday September 13th, 2017 - The past two weeks have…
September 13, 2017/by Peter Gallagher

Minister Halligan Switches on World Leading Radio Telescope: I-LOFAR

July 27, 2017/by alomeara

Ireland to join leading international astronomy collaboration

Department signs funding agreement to enable Ireland to join…
June 29, 2017/by Peter Gallagher

ILOFAR Layout is Rolled Out!

Looking back across what resembles a mini Sahara desert atop…
May 17, 2017/by Aoife Ryan

Professor Peter Gallagher made Chevalier by the French Government

At a presentation at the French Ambassador’s Residence in Dublin,…
May 16, 2017/by alomeara

Supporters

Birr Kids Space Ireland
Birr Scientific & Heritage Foundation
Grant Engineering
Joe Hogan (Openet)
Dermot Desmond
Denis O’Brien
Birr Lions Club
Birr Chamber of Commerce

Funders

Science Foundation Ireland
Enterprise Ireland
Dept. of Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation
Offaly County Council
Dept. of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural, and Gaeltacht

Consortium Members

TCD
Armagh
UCD
DCU
UCC
NUIG
DIAS
AIT

Location

Birr Castle Gardens & Science Centre
Rosse Row, Birr,
County Offaly,
R42 VO27

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