The German Long Wavelength Consortium

Metre-wavelength radio astronomy in Germany

Radio astronomy studies radio radiation from celestial sources. It allows to study the 'invisible universe', for instance: magnetic fields in the intergalactic medium and the nature and evolution of pulsars. Milestones in the history of radio astronomy are the discovery of synchrotron radiation, of neutral hydrogen in the galaxy and of neutron stars (or pulsars) which allow to test fundamental physical laws.

Advances in IT technology also dramatically change radio astronomy. Radio astronomical techniques rely on real-time and fast data processing methods. Modern technologies allow to use fast and flexible computers for these tasks. These developments opened the way for high-resolution imaging at long wavelengths (> 1.5 meter, < 200 MHz). For instance, the novel telescope Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) and the upcoming Square Kilometre Array (SKA) are only possible due to new IT technologies.

German universities and research institutes which participate in these new exiting developments of radio astronomy have formed the German Long Wavelength Consortium (GLOW). Our aim is to foster the use of this new window into the universe.

LOFAR (Low Frequency Array) is the largest distributed radio telescope in operation. Several GLOW partners operate LOFAR stations in Germany, complementing the dutch stations and central processing facilities as well as other international stations in Europe.

The SKA (Square Kilometre Array) is the upcoming world project in radio astronomy. It will be the largest astronomical facility ever built, with three different instruments placed in Australia and South Africa.