LOFAR-UK A proposal to STFC PPRP PI Professor Rob Fender (Southampton) On behalf of the following consortium: Liverpool John Moores University, The Open University, The Universities of Cambridge, Cardiff, Durham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hertfordshire, Manchester, Oxford, Portsmouth, Southampton, Aberystwyth, University College London, The Rutherford-Appleton laboratory + Universities of Kent and Sussex, QMU and ATC contingent on SUPA2 and SEPNET funding A ‘next generation’ radio telescope under construction in Europe, operating in 30—240 MHz frequency range. Thousands of small dipoles (no dishes) connected by high-speed internet to a central processing facility. Orders of magnitude improvement in sensitivity and survey speed compared to previous observation at these frequencies. Extremely diverse science case and user community. Pathfinder for the low-frequency component of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a key component of the RCUK large facilities roadmap. LOFAR science case LOFAR Key Science Projects • Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) • Deep extragalactic surveys • Radio transients and Pulsars • Cosmic rays and particle astrophysics • Solar physics • Cosmic Magnetism Guaranteed time will be allocated to these KSPs for the first ~5 years of LOFAR operations, with a steadily increasing fraction of open time. The Epoch of Reionisation Reionisation of the Universe, following the ‘dark ages’, occurred 6 < z < 12 This redshifts the 21cm HI line to the LOFAR frequency range, allowing mapping of EoR signal Key issue is removal of radio foreground Deep extragalactic surveys LOFAR will detect 108 extragalactic radio sources (primarily starburst galaxies) fantastic resource for cosmology Requires international baselines to fulfil its potential Radio Transients and Pulsars LOFAR will scan a large fraction of the entire sky ~daily, providing a Radio Sky Monitor for the first time. Combined with targeted surveys, we will study Accreting black holes / neutron stars Pulsars Extrasolar planets ‘LIGO events’ + … ? Collaboration with LT already established Cosmic rays / particle astrophysics CR produce radio pulse High-energy particles (e.g. neutrinos) can produce radio burst by interacting with moon Cosmic magnetism LOFAR polarisation surveys will allow unprecedented mapping of large-scale magnetic structures within our galaxy and other galaxies This KSP has the practical task of making LOFAR polarisation calibration work Solar physics LOFAR is a fantastic tool for monitoring the Sun as well as the solar wind / ejections and their propagation out through the inner solar system Stand-alone science LOFAR stations can be used as stand-alone observatories for monitoring variable sources e.g. pulsars, solar activity, radio transients The LOFAR-UK white paper On Feb 8 we published the LOFAR-UK white paper on astro-ph (see also LOFAR-UK website www.lofar-uk.org) LOFAR-UK White Paper: A Science case for UK involvement in LOFAR astro-ph/arXiv:0802.1186 The need for long baselines LOFAR with panEuropean baselines – of which LOFAR-UK will be a key part – will have ten times better angular resolution than the Dutch LOFAR alone. This dramatically improves LOFAR’s ability to make deep extragalactic surveys due to the confusion limit It also allows spatially resolved imaging of relativistic jets, the Sun, galactic structure, clusters of galaxies etc. LOFAR-UK are not limited to long-baseline only science! LOFAR technical case Low-band antennae (LBA) 30—80 MHz Digital beamforming at station level Inbetween: FM radio band High-band antennae (HBA) 120—240 MHz Arranged in 5x5 HBA tiles Analogue beamforming at tile level How LOFAR works in a nutshell Multiple beams Correlation of different stations Single dipole Station + beamforming BlueGene Latest LBA results Three entire hemisphere images Data reduction / analysis by prototype of final software More than 400 sources detected (c.f. RXTE ASM) HBA CS1 image 4 tiles + 12 individual HBAs 500m max baseline The complete LOFAR will have x 500 collecting area x 6 bandwidth x 2000 baseline Observing frequency 125—175 MHz Cas A removed to ~1% level 0.5 Jy r.m.s. Red squares sources from 4C radio catalogue E(uropean)-LOFAR, The SKA and LOFAR-UK E-LOFAR European expansion is well-funded LOFAR-UK 1—4 LOFAR-NL ASTRON The Observatory ARC + DMT (with UK presence) Universities 36—50 FLOW 1 SLOW 1 GLOW 4—7 Also Italy, Poland, Austria, Ukr. (Fender PI on FP7 E-LOFAR proposal) LOFAR as a SKA pathfinder The Square Kilometre Array is one of just two astronomical facilities in the RCUK large facilities roadmap The SKA will have three different antenna systems sharing a common infrastructure: Low freq dipoles Intermediate freq tiles High freq dishes LOFAR is the only fully-funded pathfinder for the Low freq component of the SKA (cf MWA, LWA), and is the only SKA pathfinder of any sort under construction in Europe (cf ASKAP, MeerKAT) LOFAR-UK Formed in 2004 SUPA2 £600k raised in institutional contributions, plus donations of land at 4 sites Edinburgh Glasgow Durham LJMU Manchester Aberystwyth O.U. Cardiff Cambridge RAL Oxford SEPNET Southampton Hertfordshire UCL/MSSL Portsmouth Very broad support extending beyond the traditional radio astronomy institutes LOFAR:UK Proposed station sites Edinburgh: 850 km baseline (U. Edinburgh land) Using LOFAR-UK funds already raised, we have agreed first station purchase with ASTRON (to be one of the three stations in England – Jodrell: 650 km baseline (U. Man land) all of these have been tested by ASTRON technical team) Lords Bridge: 450 km baseline (U. Camb land) Data connections to NL via SuperJanet 5 +commerical Chilbolton: 600 km baseline (RAL/STFC land) What is return for UK investment? A disproportionately large amount of science • Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) Core team involvement • Deep extragalactic surveys Major involvement / board level • Radio transients / Pulsars Overall leadership (2/3 board) • Cosmic rays Core team involvement • Solar physics Major involvement / board level • Cosmic Magnetism Core team involvement PLUS vital training in preparation for development of SKA This large level of involvement and leadership is based upon delivery of 4 LOFAR-UK stations Costs The project has a base cost of £4M in two major subsystems Including Working Allowance and Risk £5M Costs to be noted • £600k already raised by consortium • SEPNET: £2.15M astro bid, focussed on LOFAR - £148k earmarked for hardware at Chilbolton • SUPA2: £500k requested for LOFAR station at Edinburgh NB1: we already have quote for all station costs except HBAs, so risk on hardware costs is reduced NB2: commitment to spend on further UK stations probably needs to be with ASTRON by end 2008 £550k ‘in the bank’ SUPA2 contrib. subtracted from I2 £267k £972k £200k £469k £386k £862k £407k £998k Management Project manager to be hired (at 50%) Existing Management to become the LOFAR-UK board of University members STFC steering committee to be established Meetings: Management – monthly Board – 6 monthly Summary LOFAR is a fully-funded ‘next generation’ radio telescope and SKA pathfinder under construction in The Netherlands Expansion of the array across Europe is essential to maximise its potential, and is already part-funded in Germany, France, Sweden For a base cost of ~£4M LOFAR-UK will make the UK a major partner in LOFAR, providing access to breakthrough science as well as training of people in preparation for the SKA.
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