Dwingeloo, 11 June 2014
Today, ASTRON and the Polish LOFAR consortium POLFAR signed a contract for the construction of three new antenna stations for the International LOFAR Telescope (ILT) in the north, west and south of Poland. Signing of the contract took place at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn in Poland in the presence of representatives of ASTRON, the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education and local governments, and representatives of the Polish astronomical and space sciences communities.
At the end of 2013, POLFAR received a grant from the Polish Minister of Science and Higher Education for the construction and equipment of three international LOFAR stations as part of their national research infrastructure investment. The new LOFAR stations will be located in Łazy (in southern Poland, operated by the Jagiellonian University in Krakow), Bałdy (in northern Poland, operated by the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn), and Borówiec (in western Poland, operated by the Space Research Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences). The formal agreement between the POLFAR consortium and ASTRON now marks the start of the preparations for the roll-out of these new stations.
LOFAR, designed and built by ASTRON Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, is a transformational radio telescope that is uniquely powerful and versatile for studies at the lowest frequencies that can be observed from Earth. With LOFAR, astronomers can look back billions of years to a time before the first stars and galaxies were formed (the so-called ‘Dark Ages’), they can survey vast areas of the low-frequency radio sky, and they can be constantly on the lookout for some of the most energetic and burst-like events in the universe. Astronomical interests in Poland range from neutral hydrogen distribution in the distant early universe, to the timing of pulsars, and to studies of magnetic fields in various intergalactic, interstellar, planetary, and solar environments.