Tuesday, July 14, 2009

LOFAR first light !

Our telescope has been shown to be completely operational. The electronics worked all in parts, then they conducted tests of individual antennas, measured their responses, then they connected all of them to a massive super-computer.

The voltages from all the antennas are combined locally to 'form beams' and pass on the data to the super-computer, where a program does the job of a traditional 'correlator'. It basically compares (correlates) voltages from one reference antenna with other antennas. That tells us about structure of the astronomical sources, akeen to images of the source. We can also just add up signals from all antennas, say to observe a pulsar, where all the separate antennas will act in conjunction like a single large dish.

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