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Initiator: ASTRON Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy

eu  SNN

This project was co-financed by the EU, the European Fund for Regional Development and the Northern Netherlands Provinces (SNN), and EZ/KOMPAS.

Scientific Topics

The scientific topics of the solar KSP are:

  • studying plasma processes related to energetic electrons in the solar corona
  • studying the initiation of CMEs as the hugest form of solar activity
  • formation and development of shocks in the corona
  • generation of energetic particles in the Sun's atmosphere
Besides the scientific objectives monitoring the solar activity is also a very important topic of the solar KSP, since such a monitoring gives an input to the Space Weather. That goes beyond the pure astrophysical interest of LOFAR, since Space Weather is of social relevance.
These topics results in the following observation modes:
  • Radio Spectroscopy (spectrometer mode)
The intensity and polarisation of the solar radio radiation over time in all available frequency channels is recorded.
  • Routine imaging (monitoring mode)
For monitoring the solar activity and studies of the long-term evolution of solar active regions, images of the radio Sun will be taken with a cadence of 1/min. This is chosen to be in coincidence with the Global H alpha Network. The Sun will be observed at about 4 frequencies simultaneously, covering the whole LOFAR frequency range. Since the solar radio radiation is due to plasma emission, these frequencies correspond to different heights in the solar corona.
  • Solar burst imaging (burst mode)
Joint observation campaigns of LOFAR with other ground-based and space-born instruments (e.g. GREGOR, ALMA, RHESSI, STEREO, Hinode and SDO) that observe the Sun in radio, optical, EUV, and X-ray wavelengths, enable dedicated studies of certain aspects of the solar activity, e.g. solar flares. Then, a higher image cadence of e.g. 0.1s is necessary in order to cover the dynamics of the burst.

For archiving the data of LOFAR's solar observations data a Solar Science Data Center is intended to establish for the whole LOFAR and solar physics community at the AIP. It can easily be extended to data form other experiments and to a general archive of solar data. Its organization is sketched below.


Solar Science Data Center


ASTRON initiated LOFAR as a new and innovative effort to force a breakthrough in sensitivity for astronomical observations at radio-frequencies below 250 MHz. 
Development: Dripl | Design: Kuenst   © copyright 2020 Lofar