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The prospects of LOFAR surveys
LOFAR, the Low Frequency Array, is a next-generation radio telescope that is being built in the Netherlands and neighbouring countries and will be fully operational at the end of this decade. It will operate at frequencies from 15 to 240 MHz (corresponding to wavelengths of 20 to 1.2 m). Its superb sensitivity, high angular resolution, large field of view and flexible spectroscopic capabilities will represent a dramatic improvement over previous facilities at these wavelengths. As such, LOFAR will carry out a broad range of fundamental astrophysical studies and will be an important vehicle for astronomical research
An important goal that has driven the development of LOFAR since its inception is to explore the low-frequency radio sky by means of a series of unique surveys. We are planning to exploit the unprecedented sensitivity and wide instantaneous field of LOFAR to conduct large-sky surveys at 15, 30, 60, 120 and 200 MHz. Such surveys should start in 2009, when the 100 km LOFAR should become operational.
Four topics are driving the definition of the proposed surveys. These are:
- Formation of massive galaxies, clusters and black holes using z> 6 radio galaxies as probes,
- Intercluster magnetic fields using diffuse radio emission in galaxy clusters as probes,
- Star formation processes in the early Universe using starburst galaxies as probes, and
- Exploration of new parameter space for serendipitous discovery.
2. Workshop plan
During this workshop the participants will actively (i) provide input for planning the surveys and subsequent production, (ii) plan preparatory/follow-up observations, (iii) carry out theoretical simulations, (iv) to be involved / take the lead in one of the science areas.
Items on the Agenda will include:
- Survey plans
- LOFAR project
- Formation of massive galaxies and clusters
- Star Formation in the early Universe
- Intercluster magnetic fields
- Physics of radio sources and active galaxy nuclei
- Magnetic fields and ISM in nearby galaxies
- Large scale structure of Universe and its evolution
- Galaxy and its constituents
Presentations will take about 50% of the time so that there is ample time to for discussions. These discussions will focus on:
- Refinement of the survey definitions to optimise the scientific outcome
- Field selection
- Prepatory and follow-up observations?