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ASTRON Newsletter July 2020  
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Happy birthday to LOFAR!

On 12 June, LOFAR celebrated its tenth anniversary.

In celebration of this, we have prepared a special video, highlighting some of the amazing discoveries that have been made with LOFAR, as well as technical innovations, which LOFAR has made possible.

Highlights

LOFAR: Looking back and forward

 Throughout its ten years of operation, LOFAR has made some amazing discoveries. It has been a key part of groundbreaking research, both in astronomy and engineering. To celebrate LOFAR’s tenth anniversary, we published a series of articles marking some of the highlights of LOFAR. 
 
Read the articles

WSRT-Apertif Surveys to continue throughout 2021

The large-scale Apertif surveys with the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) that started on 1 July 2019 will continue to be supported during 2021. Apertif (Aperture Tile In Focus), a next-generation observing system using focal plane array technology, has been installed on the WSRT in 2018 in order to significantly expand the field of view and the survey speed of the telescope, enabling new, innovative types of astronomical research.
 
Read the story

Nearest fast radio burst source is regularly active

An international team of astronomers, including ASTRON and JIVE researchers, has discovered that a repeating fast radio burst (FRB) source becomes active about every sixteen days. However, the FRB source does not burst with the exact regularity of a clock: not every active period is equally long or violent. The researchers have published their research in Nature on June 17, 2020.
Read the story

Humans of ASTRON

Emanuela Orrù - Support Scientist

In Humans of ASTRON we share stories about the people at ASTRON. Who are the people behind the discoveries and innovations and also, who are the people that make sure that everything runs smoothly? In this second part of the series, we’ll be sharing the story of Emanuela Orrù, support scientist at ASTRON since 2012.
 

Other stories

The beautiful mess in Abell 2255

Radio halos are giant diffuse synchrotron emission found at the center of some merging galaxy clusters. In the past, they were described as smooth and regular sources with a morphology recalling that of the X-ray emitting gas. Highly sensitive observations performed with LOFAR-HBA are changing our view of radio halos, unveiling the presence of a large diversity of surface brightness structures embedded in the diffuse emission.
> Read the story

A new leap in RFI mitigation:

Terrestrial radio telescopes are always affected by radio frequency interference (RFI). It is rather straight-forward to detect and mitigate strong RFI that stand well above the nominal data. However, weak RFI can remain hidden below the celestial signals and may pass undetected. Nonetheless, this weak RFI will cause problems in deep observations that accumulate many hundreds of hours of observing time.
> Read the story

Deep Learning Assisted Data Inspection for Radio Astronomy

Modern radio telescopes combine thousands of receivers, long-distance networks, large-scale compute hardware, and intricate software. Due to this complexity, failures occur relatively frequently. The image relates to recently published work where we propose the novel use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically diagnose system problems for modern radio telescopes.
> Read the story

Open source in action: ASTRON gateware FFT ported to CASPER

CASPER (The Collaboration for Astronomy Signal Processing and Electronics Research) has been promoting the use of opensource FPGA hardware, software and tools for 14 years. Today, open source CASPER technology is used in many scientific instruments worldwide.
> Read the story

Virtual tour of the Dwingeloo Telescope

Due to COVID-19, public tours of the Dwingeloo Telescope are unfortunately cancelled: the room is simply too small to host more than a few people. But now there is a virtual tour.
> Read the story

Current job openings

All vacancies can be found on the Working at ASTRON website.

Media mentions we are proud of

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