Thursday, 3 February 2011

First Pictures from LOFAR Telescope

First Pictures from LOFAR Telescope

A new UK telescope has taken ‘radio pictures’ deep into space for the first time in the quest to discover more about the birth of stars and galaxies just after the Big Bang.

The images of the 3C196 quasar (a black hole in a distant galaxy) were taken in January 2011 by the International LOFAR Telescope (ILT). LOFAR (Low Frequency Array), which is co-ordinated by ASTRON in the Netherlands, is a network of radio telescopes designed to study the sky at the lowest radio frequencies accessible from the surface of the Earth with unprecedented resolution.

The telescope, which is part of the European LOFAR project will ‘listen’ to the Universe just above and below the FM radio band, allowing astronomers to determine when the first stars in the Universe were formed and to reveal how the Universe evolved from these first objects.

Staff at the University of Hertfordshire’s Centre for Astrophysics Research are involved in both the Surveys and Transients Key Projects. Dr Martin Hardcastle is the UK science coordinator and Dr Matt Jarvis represents the UK on the Surveys Key Science Project Core Team.

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