Italy joins the International LOFAR Telescope for radio waves
Medicina, near Bologna, will host the new station of the LOFAR-LOw Frequency Array, the large international radio telescope that today has over 25 thousand antennas grouped in 51 stations located in 7 European countries.
A contract was signed in the Netherlands for the construction of a new antenna station by the INAF-National Institute for Astrophysics, which will lead the Italian consortium for the construction of the infrastructure.
LOFAR is a world-class facility for astronomical research which can capture cosmic radio waves at the lowest frequencies that can be observed from Earth (between 30 and 240 MHz). The core of LOFAR is located in Exloo, in the Netherlands, the country that hosts 38 of the 51 antenna stations making up this large observatory, with 6 stations in Germany, 3 in Poland and 1 in France, England, Sweden and Ireland.
“Italy’s entrance in the International LOFAR Telescope represents an important step for INAF”, said Nichi D’amico, President of INAF. “LOFAR is a research infrastructure at the forefront of low-frequency radio astronomy and is actually a pathfinder of the large world-class facility SKA (Square Kilometre Array), in which INAF and Italy are deeply involved in the construction and future operations. With LOFAR we will be able to acquire top-level scientific observations and at the same time to train the new generations of scientists in the use of SKA for the coming years”, D’Amico concluded.
Italy, through INAF, will invest more than 2.5 million euro in LOFAR over the next five years and will be involved in the development of the next generation electronic devices for the radio telescope. The Italian station will allow LOFAR to extend its network and improve the quality of the images obtained from the near and far Universe.