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Space Science

LOFAR Telescope Array Grabs First Pulsar Images 32

Posted by timothy
from the print-them-full-size dept.
vikingpower writes "LOFAR, the LOw Frequency ARray radio telescope, under construction in the north of the Netherlands, saw its first pulsars (English translation of Dutch original) — through coupling it with radio telescopes in Germany and France. LOFAR is sensitive to wavelengths as long as seven meters, and will be inaugurated on June 12 of this year."
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LOFAR Telescope Array Grabs First Pulsar Images

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  • What, in Europe they don't have abductions?? They don't need to transmit and negotiate return of the hostages when we get in touch?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Nope, not many abductions around here. Also, basically no anal probing going on. The aliens seem to have a strange fetish for hillbillies and trailer trash. Why that is so is on of the great conundrums of the universe.
    • > What, in Europe they don't have abductions?

      No. In Europe the aliens make crop circles.

      • by naam00 (1145163)
        Hahaha, I remember the aliens trying their hand at a cropcircle here (I live right in the middle of LOFAR country), but failing miserably with an all out of whack circle. The local media tried to spruce it up all they could, but it was just too wonky to be taken seriously. I guess they went back to flattening reeds in the UK since then.
    • by RockDoctor (15477)

      What, in Europe they don't have abductions?? They don't need to transmit and negotiate return of the hostages when we get in touch?

      In Soviet Socialist Europe , Aliens don't abduct you. In Soviet Socialist Europe, you abduct Aliens.

      Umm, actually, the Aliens drive into Groningen town square, crack a few Amstels, puff a little blow in the cafe, and hey, if there's any anal probing to be done (what is an anus in your species anyway? Do Aliens have one?), well, there's a by-the-hour hotel just round the corner f

  • by Anonymous Coward

    this is in image of the centre of the system, it is 6 times as big as the other fields spread over europe. The water around it has been made to keep wild animals from wandering around and knocking over antennas.

    http://www.astron.nl/dailyimage/pictures/20100421/Lofar9mrt2010.jpg

    • by srodden (949473)
      Surely it'd be less costly to build a chain link fence around the site than dig a giant moat? Perhaps the Dutch just have a thing about dykes!
      • by naam00 (1145163)
        If a fence could keep out water, then, yes.
      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        Surely it'd be less costly to build a chain link fence around the site than dig a giant moat?

        It's quite a substantial site, so that'd be quite a 2.PI().substantial length of fence, and they'd need to make it rabbit-proof, which requires regular maintenance. Might well be cheaper to dig the moat, in the long term. How much does a one-off rental of a digger and driver cost compared to weekly visits by a guy who can fix fences?
        Oh, they'd have to deal with any invaders after the winter too.

        Perhaps the Dutch ju

    • anyone got a lat long of this? or a link on google maps?
  • "Low frequency" here seems to be upper radio range. What do you get at that range?
    • Re:Targets (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 24, 2010 @08:47PM (#31970888)

      The frequency range of LOFAR is limited by the ionosphere - beyond the low end of their frequency range, the ionosphere is reflective, so they'd just see reflections from ham radio operators, radar systems, etc. Most radio astronomy takes place at somewhat higher frequencies - pulsars, for example, are often observed around the 1-1.5 GHz range. (There's a hydrogen emission line at 1.5 GHz, which lets you get a good look at the hydrogen gas in the universe, so many telescopes are designed to observe around that frequency.) Other telescopes go up to 100 GHz, or even higher, although radio waves at those frequencies start to be distorted by other atmospheric effects (humidity; turbulence), so the telescopes tend to be built at high altitude. (See, for example, ALMA [wikipedia.org].)

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by oldhack (1037484)
        So this is filling the gap in the lower end above ionospheric trap?
      • > pulsars, for example, are often observed around the 1-1.5 GHz range. (There's a hydrogen emission line at 1.5 GHz,...

        Yes, but as you look at objects farther away, they are also moving away from us at higher speeds causing red shift in all their emissions. So the 7 meter (40MHz) signals originated at a much higher frequency.

  • The Google Translation says that LOFAR has made unique observations, which in context I understand to mean as measurements, not the same as saying that it has grabbed the first images. Also, there are no jpgs of pulsars in TFA, so show us the money!

    Any Netherlanders who could kindly clarify this?
    BTW, I'm from Mexico and have been to your peculiar, intense and wonderful country three times, I hope to return in about a decade with my wife and son (who was born three weeks ago), to skate from town to town at

    • The Google Translation says that LOFAR has made unique observations, which in context I understand to mean as measurements, not the same as saying that it has grabbed the first images. Also, there are no jpgs of pulsars in TFA, so show us the money!

      Any Netherlanders who could kindly clarify this?

      Sure, but it's a bit of a trick question. I think you're right in that there have no images been gathered yet. I think Google Translation is right in translating 'waarnemingen' by 'observations'. Since English isn't my first language, I did a lookup to verify that 'observation' doen't necessarily mean something that results in an image, and indeed the second meaning the Merriam Webster gives is 'an act of recognizing and noting a fact or occurrence often involving measurement with instrument'.

      Offtopic: Cong

      • Offtopic: Congratulations with your son, and I hope the climate, in a decad, will indeed allow skating on the canals...

        The way things are going, I think you should be more worried about you having any canals left and won't instead be saddled with some huge lakes.

        Unless you guys decide to forego the dykes and instead work towards making the country rise on hydraulic legs, so you can roam the world and settle somewhere nice ;)

  • Completely off-topic, but wow, I just browsed to that site, Chrome automatically translated it to me and it was a perfect read! I went on to read a bunch more pages with no difficulties. Translation has come a loooong way :-)

  • Only one interesting comment? Why so many people like to make jokes about Dutch technologies, I really don't know. Or do I just hear complaints about (research) jobs moving to Europe and Asia? Remember some flood in the US not long ago? Remember who helped you how to get prepared for such disasters? So "dykes" should be something you don't laugh about, but respect. They save your life. You probably heard the saying "God created the land, but the Dutch created their own". Just like LOFAR is an unique proje

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