LOFAR: The low-frequency array

M. P. Van Haarlem, M. W. Wise, A. W. Gunst, G. Heald, J. P. McKean, J. W.T. Hessels, A. G. De Bruyn, R. Nijboer, J. Swinbank, R. Fallows, M. Brentjens, A. Nelles, R. Beck, H. Falcke, R. Fender, J. Hörandel, L. V.E. Koopmans, G. Mann, G. Miley, H. RöttgeringB. W. Stappers, R. A.M.J. Wijers, S. Zaroubi, M. Van Den Akker, A. Alexov, J. Anderson, K. Anderson, A. Van Ardenne, M. Arts, A. Asgekar, I. M. Avruch, F. Batejat, L. Bähren, M. E. Bell, M. R. Bell, I. Van Bemmel, P. Bennema, M. J. Bentum, G. Bernardi, P. Best, L. Bîrzan, A. Bonafede, A. J. Boonstra, R. Braun, J. Bregman, F. Breitling, R. H. Van De Brink, J. Broderick, P. C. Broekema, W. N. Brouw, M. Brüggen, H. R. Butcher, W. Van Cappellen, B. Ciardi, T. Coenen, J. Conway, A. Coolen, A. Corstanje, S. Damstra, O. Davies, A. T. Deller, R. J. Dettmar, G. Van Diepen, K. Dijkstra, P. Donker, A. Doorduin, J. Dromer, M. Drost, A. Van Duin, J. Eislöffel, J. Van Enst, C. Ferrari, W. Frieswijk, H. Gankema, M. A. Garrett, F. De Gasperin, M. Gerbers, E. De Geus, J. M. Grießmeier, T. Grit, P. Gruppen, J. P. Hamaker, T. Hassall, M. Hoeft, H. A. Holties, A. Horneffer, A. Van Der Horst, A. Van Houwelingen, A. Huijgen, M. Iacobelli, H. Intema, N. Jackson, V. Jelic, A. De Jong, E. Juette, D. Kant, A. Karastergiou, A. Koers, H. Kollen, V. I. Kondratiev, E. Kooistra, Y. Koopman, A. Koster, M. Kuniyoshi, M. Kramer, G. Kuper, P. Lambropoulos, C. Law, J. Van Leeuwen, J. Lemaitre, M. Loose, P. Maat, G. Macario, S. Markoff, J. Masters, R. A. McFadden, D. McKay-Bukowski, H. Meijering, H. Meulman, M. Mevius, E. Middelberg, R. Millenaar, J. C.A. Miller-Jones, R. N. Mohan, J. D. Mol, J. Morawietz, R. Morganti, D. D. Mulcahy, E. Mulder, H. Munk, L. Nieuwenhuis, R. Van Nieuwpoort, J. E. Noordam, M. Norden, A. Noutsos, A. R. Offringa, H. Olofsson, A. Omar, E. Orrú, R. Overeem, H. Paas, M. Pandey-Pommier, V. N. Pandey, R. Pizzo, A. Polatidis, D. Rafferty, S. Rawlings, W. Reich, J. P. De Reijer, J. Reitsma, G. A. Renting, P. Riemers, E. Rol, J. W. Romein, J. Roosjen, M. Ruiter, A. Scaife, K. Van Der Schaaf, B. Scheers, P. Schellart, A. Schoenmakers, G. Schoonderbeek, M. Serylak, A. Shulevski, J. Sluman, O. Smirnov, C. Sobey, H. Spreeuw, M. Steinmetz, C. G.M. Sterks, H. J. Stiepel, K. Stuurwold, M. Tagger, Y. Tang, C. Tasse, I. Thomas, S. Thoudam, M. C. Toribio, B. Van Der Tol, O. Usov, M. Van Veelen, A. J. Van Der Veen, S. Ter Veen, J. P.W. Verbiest, R. Vermeulen, N. Vermaas, C. Vocks, C. Vogt, M. De Vos, E. Van Der Wal, R. Van Weeren, H. Weggemans, P. Weltevrede, S. White, S. J. Wijnholds, T. Wilhelmsson, O. Wucknitz, S. Yatawatta, P. Zarka, A. Zensus, J. Van Zwieten

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1912 Scopus citations

Abstract

LOFAR, the LOw-Frequency ARray, is a new-generation radio interferometer constructed in the north of the Netherlands and across europe. Utilizing a novel phased-array design, LOFAR covers the largely unexplored low-frequency range from 10-240 MHz and provides a number of unique observing capabilities. Spreading out from a core located near the village of Exloo in the northeast of the Netherlands, a total of 40 LOFAR stations are nearing completion. A further five stations have been deployed throughout Germany, and one station has been built in each of France, Sweden, and the UK. Digital beam-forming techniques make the LOFAR system agile and allow for rapid repointing of the telescope as well as the potential for multiple simultaneous observations. With its dense core array and long interferometric baselines, LOFAR achieves unparalleled sensitivity and angular resolution in the low-frequency radio regime. The LOFAR facilities are jointly operated by the International LOFAR Telescope (ILT) foundation, as an observatory open to the global astronomical community. LOFAR is one of the first radio observatories to feature automated processing pipelines to deliver fully calibrated science products to its user community. LOFAR's new capabilities, techniques and modus operandi make it an important pathfinder for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). We give an overview of the LOFAR instrument, its major hardware and software components, and the core science objectives that have driven its design. In addition, we present a selection of new results from the commissioning phase of this new radio observatory.

Original languageBritish English
Article numberA2
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Volume556
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Dark ages, reionization, first stars
  • Instrumentation: Interferometers
  • Radio continuum: General
  • Radio lines: General
  • Telescopes

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