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Imaging the Low Frequency Radio Sky with LOFAR
The first 6 months of LOFAR observations is expected to start on December 1, 2012. During this period the plan is to observe 10 nearby clusters, 10 nearby galaxies, 10 famous extragalactic fields, and 13 important AGN. These observations will be carried out and scientifically exploited by a large international science team, currently consisting of 80 staff astronomers, 20 postdocs and 25 PhD students.
The main challenge for the survey project is to ensure that high dynamic range thermal noise limited images with a stable point-spread function can be made over the entire accessible sky and over LOFAR's full frequency range. The serious issues that need to be tackled before deep and scientifically useful maps can be made include:
(i) an efficient usage of the computational resources,
(ii) an effective removal of radio frequency interference,
(iii) dealing with the corrupting influence of the ionosphere, and,
(iv) properly correcting for the station beams.
The aim of the workshop is to bring together the active astronomers within the LOFAR survey team that are reducing the LOFAR data to be taken during the first 2 months of LOFAR operations, commencing on October 1, 2012. Participants will exchange ideas and expertise on how to reduce and analyse LOFAR data, as well as start discussing the content of the first papers.
The workshop will start with a review of the entire status of the system and associated software. The remainder of the week most of the time will be spent on working on issues related to the recently taken LOFAR data. Each day will be started with a brief plenary meeting to discuss work to be done during the day. At the end of each day a session will be planned to review progress. During each day several small working groups will meet that either will discuss the content of publications related to the topics mentioned in the science case or to discuss aspects of particular technical issues as listed above. During the final day an inventory will be made of the remaining issues that need to be addressed. In addition participants will outline (i) how the existing cookbook of methods to reduce LOFAR data will be updated and (ii) what publications can be started to be written.