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Astronomy

Raffaella Morganti plenary: From LOFAR to SKA: The New Era of Radio Astronomy

A plenary talk from SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation 2016

1 August 2016, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201607.16

Raffaella Morganti, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy and the University of GroningenRadio astronomy is going through a period of change. Innovative instrument designs are being adopted to broaden the capabilities of new radio telescopes while keeping them affordable. These new technologies offer unprecedented possibilities for new modes of observations, new science, and new ways to do science. In this plenary session,  Raffaella Morganti of the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) and University of Groningen, describes the implications this has on extragalactic astronomy, focusing on the study of radio-load active galactic nuclei.

The  expanded field-of-view and the broader observed band, now available on a number of new radio telescopes, allow multiple, very different studies with very different aims to be done from the same observations. Radio astronomy has been always data intensive, but these new capabilities are pushing the data rates and the size of the datasets even further. This requires not only state of the art computing facilities, but also more effort for the development of sophisticated algorithms and pipelines as well as archive facilities. Morganti shows some of the latest results, starting with the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR), as well as other new instruments which are paving the way to the Square Kilometre Array.

Raffaella Morganti is a staff astronomer at the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) and professor at the Kapteyn Institute, University of Groningen. She received her PhD from the University of Bologna followed by an ESO Fellowship. She worked at the Institute of Radio Astronomy (Bologna) and the Australia Telescope National Facility before landing at ASTRON where she was Head of the Astronomy Group for eight years. In 2003, she received an ERC Advanced Grant to explore the role of radio-loud active galactic nuclei in galaxy evolution. For this project, she is using new radio telescopes and, in particular, the two new instruments built by ASTRON: LOFAR and Apertif.