Recent LOFAR Highlights
The LOFAR telescope allows to study the low frequency radio sky with unprecedented resolution and sensitivity. Here we feature recent results with significant contribution from GLOW researchers.
- Plasma in galaxy clusters - On the largest scales, the Universe consists of voids and filaments making up the cosmic web. Galaxy clusters are located at the knots in this web, at the intersection of filaments. Regions of diffuse radio emission are thought to trace relativistic electrons in the intracluster plasma accelerated by low-Mach-number shocks. A long-standing problem is how low-Mach-number shocks can accelerate electrons so efficiently to explain the observed radio relics. Here, we report the discovery of a direct connection between a radio relic and a radio galaxy. This discovery indicates that fossil relativistic electrons from active galactic nuclei are re-accelerated at cluster shocks. It also implies that radio galaxies play an important role in governing the non-thermal component of the intracluster medium in merging clusters. Researchers at the University of Hamburg led the interpretation of the results.
- Low frequency radio emission from a young star - The young star T Tau was successfully observed at 149 MHz. These observations show the low-frequency turn-over in its free-free spectrum, allowing for more accurate estimates of the physical parameters of the ionised gas around this newly forming star. LOFAR observations and analysis has been carried out by team of researchers from Dublin and Tautenburg.
- LOFAR millisecond pulsars - Millisecond pulsars are extremely rapidly rotating neutron stars that are often used to carry out the most sensitive tests of Einstein's theories of gravitation. Until now, it was not known if it would be possible to see these objects with LOFAR because at these low frequencies it seemed likely that interstellar gas clouds would scatter their pulses too much. In this paper we make a first census of millisecond pulsars with LOFAR and we find that an unexpectedly large number of them is indeed detectable, meaning it is possible to now involve LOFAR in a range of high-impact experimental gravity tests, such as the quest for nanohertz-frequency gravitational waves.
- Predictions for the 21 cm-galaxy cross-power spectrum - It has been suggested that using LOFAR observations in combination with observations in different frequency bands would help in studying the 21cm signal from neutral hydrogen, which is expected to provide unique information and constraints on the process known as cosmic reionization. Researchers at the Max PLanck Institute for Astrophysics have investigated this in a series of papers.
- Solar Imaging Pipeline and Data Center - The solar imaging pipeline and data center is developed and operated at the Leibniz Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (Germany) in close collaboration with ASTRON. Solar imaging is challanging since the Sun is an extended radio source with a highly spatial and temporal variablity. The pipeline bases on both an external calibrator and self-calibration. The archiving of LOFAR's solar radio data in the LOFAR Solar Data Center is additionally described in the paper.
- LOFAR Facet Calibration - Making images with LOFAR is made difficult by the variation in time and direction of the sensitivity of the antenna array. This problem was solved by a new method that was implemented by Dr. David Rafferty from the University of Hamburg (in a project funded by the BMBF Verbundforschung)
Full list of publications with 'LOFAR' in abstract (ADS search)
A full publication list of LOFAR-related papers can be retrieved from the NASA SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS). For now, you can use this link to directly query for LOFAR publications in ADS. Note, here we search for all articles which have the acronym LOFAR in the abstract.