Lorentz Center - Surveying the low frequency sky with LOFAR from 8 Mar 2010 through 12 Mar 2010
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    Surveying the low frequency sky with LOFAR
    from 8 Mar 2010 through 12 Mar 2010



Scientific Summary


LOFAR, the Low Frequency Array, is a next-generation radio telescope that is being built in the Netherlands and neighboring 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 view of LOFAR to conduct large-sky surveys at 15, 30, 60, 120 and 200 MHz.


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.


Furthermore, the LOFAR surveys will provide a wealth of unique data for a huge number of additional important topics. These include:

Physics of nearby AGN

AGN evolution and black hole accretion history

Nearby normal galaxies

Lensing studies

Large-scale cosmological effects and baryonic oscillations

Galactic radio sources


At the end of 2009 the LOFAR telescope consisted of 20 stations. With this system first observations were carried out.


The workshop at the Lorentz Center focussed on:

  1. Updating the entire Dutch astronomical community on the LOFAR projects and its key programs,
  2. discussing the first data from the 20 station LOFAR,
  3. updating the survey plans for the full LOFAR in light of the experience from both the 36 station LOFAR and the first outer station,
  4. exploring synergies with surveys in other wavebands.


With 65 astronomers from 10 countries, the discussions were lively and fruitful. The staff of the Lorentz center were very helpful, which much contributed to the success of the workshop.