Monday 7 October 2013

POLFAR -- The Polish LOFAR project

It is official!

Poland will build three new LOFAR stations.

The International LOFAR Telescope (ILT) comprises the combined LOFAR stations of  the Netherlands, Germany, France, Sweden and the United Kingdom. As we have been reporting, there are numerous other countries that are interested in joining the ILT and are attempting to raise the necessary funding to join this leading research project. It is therefore with the utmost delight that we report today that Poland is the latest to join the facility, and it intends to do so with major impact.

The Polish LOFAR Consortium (POLFAR) comprises:

  • Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Kraków, 
  • Centrum Badań Kosmicznych PAN, Warszawa, 
  • Uniwersytet Warmińsko-Mazurski, Olsztyn, 
  • Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika, Toruń, 
  • Centrum Astronomiczne Mikołaja Kopernika Warszawa,Toruń, 
  • Uniwersytet Szczeciński, Szczecin, 
  • Uniwersytet Zielonogórski, Zielona Góra, 
  • Uniwersytet Przyrodniczy, Wrocław, 
  • Instytut Chemii Bioorganicznej PAN, 
  • Poznańskie Centrum Superkomputerowo.

It has now been officially announced that the Minister of Science and Higher Education prof. Barbara Kudrycka granted Polish consortium POLFAR 25.792.000 zł for the construction and equipment of three international stations of the European LOFAR radio astronomy system in Poland as part of their national research infrastructure investment.

Not one... but three!

Three International-class LOFAR stations is the equivalent of the LOFAR stations of France, Sweden and the UK combined! The proposed sites for the three stations are:
  • Borówiec, near Poznan,
  • Łazy, near Bochnia
  • Bałdy, near Olsztyn
The graphic at the head of this article shows the approximate locations of those sites. These will be constructed between 2013 and 2015. They will be linked by and ultra-fast network to a new regional supercomputing centre at Poznan, and from there connections will be made to the supercomputing faciltiy at Groningnen in the Netherlands

Polish scientists aim to push ahead in a number of areas of frontline research. These will include studies of galactic magnetic fields and their dynamic impact on the rarefied interstellar and intergalactic plasma, the timing of pulsars , the distribution of neutral hydrogen in the early universe. There are plans to study expiration and renewal of active galactic nuclei as well as more local studies of the magnetosphere of the giant planets in our solar system. The POLFAR consortium will also participate in commercial programs: global navigation and local environmental research.

On behalf of the KAIRA team, we congratulate POLFAR on this impressive step forward -- a move which will push Poland ahead as a major player in low-frequency radio astronomy. We shall watch the progress with excitement and shall look forward to the first amazing results.

Links (in Polish)

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