FNWI --- IMAPP Department of Astrophysics
Radboud University > Faculty of Science > Department of Astrophysics

LOFAR imaging survey

Example of a LOFAR image of the radio galaxy Cygnus AOne of the main goals of the LOFAR radio telescope is to map the sky. Just like maps of the earth help us to navigate our planet, the result of the LOFAR imaging survey will help us to understand better the evolution and content of our universe. The maps made by LOFAR will be of unprecedented high-resolution and depth at the low radio frequency that the survey is probing. New discoveries await.

Among the images that will be obtained by the survey are: supernova remnants, starforming galaxies, relics of galaxy mergers and millions of active back holes. A more complete view of these systems will be obtained by combing the properties measured by LOFAR with other surveys that have been conducted at higher frequency. The high spatial resolution of LOFAR is key to make this comparison work, since at lower resolution one is limited by miss-matches with the surveys at different frequencies.

The low-frequencies that LOFAR is probing are a true frontier; to obtain a sensible image we have to think and work quite hard because the ionosphere is blurring and scattering our view of the sky. The astronomy group in Nijmegen is involved in testing the cutting edge imaging algorithms that are being developed for imaging at low-frequency. We will also search the large volumes of data for new or rare astrophysical objects.

 The quasar 3C196, the left image shows the increase in resolution when the international LOFAR station are used

 The field around the quasar 3C196