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1.
  • van Haarlem, M. P., et al. (författare)
  • LOFAR : The LOw-Frequency ARray
  • 2013
  • Ingår i: Astronomy and Astrophysics. - 0004-6361 .- 1432-0746. ; 556, s. 1-53
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • <p>LOFAR, the LOw-Frequency ARray, is a new-generation radio interferometer constructed in the north of the Netherlands and across europe. Utilizing a novel phased-array design, LOFAR covers the largely unexplored low-frequency range from 10–240 MHz and provides a number of unique observing capabilities. Spreading out from a core located near the village of Exloo in the northeast of the Netherlands, a total of 40 LOFAR stations are nearing completion. A further five stations have been deployed throughout Germany, and one station has been built in each of France, Sweden, and the UK. Digital beam-forming techniques make the LOFAR system agile and allow for rapid repointing of the telescope as well as the potential for multiple simultaneous observations. With its dense core array and long interferometric baselines, LOFAR achieves unparalleled sensitivity and angular resolution in the low-frequency radio regime. The LOFAR facilities are jointly operated by the International LOFAR Telescope (ILT) foundation, as an observatory open to the global astronomical community. LOFAR is one of the first radio observatories to feature automated processing pipelines to deliver fully calibrated science products to its user community. LOFAR’s new capabilities, techniques and modus operandi make it an important pathfinder for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). We give an overview of the LOFAR instrument, its major hardware and software components, and the core science objectives that have driven its design. In addition, we present a selection of new results from the commissioning phase of this new radio observatory.</p>
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2.
  • van Haarlem, M. P., et al. (författare)
  • LOFAR: The LOw-Frequency ARray
  • 2013
  • Ingår i: Astronomy and Astrophysics. - 0004-6361 .- 1432-0746. ; 556:August, s. article no. A2
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • LOFAR, the LOw-Frequency ARray, is a new-generation radio interferometer constructed in the north of the Netherlands and across europe. Utilizing a novel phased-array design, LOFAR covers the largely unexplored low-frequency range from 10-240 MHz and provides a number of unique observing capabilities. Spreading out from a core located near the village of Exloo in the northeast of the Netherlands, a total of 40 LOFAR stations are nearing completion. A further five stations have been deployed throughout Germany, and one station has been built in each of France, Sweden, and the UK. Digital beam-forming techniques make the LOFAR system agile and allow for rapid repointing of the telescope as well as the potential for multiple simultaneous observations. With its dense core array and long interferometric baselines, LOFAR achieves unparalleled sensitivity and angular resolution in the low-frequency radio regime. The LOFAR facilities are jointly operated by the International LOFAR Telescope (ILT) foundation, as an observatory open to the global astronomical community. LOFAR is one of the first radio observatories to feature automated processing pipelines to deliver fully calibrated science products to its user community. LOFAR's new capabilities, techniques and modus operandi make it an important pathfinder for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). We give an overview of the LOFAR instrument, its major hardware and software components, and the core science objectives that have driven its design. In addition, we present a selection of new results from the commissioning phase of this new radio observatory.
3.
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4.
  • Heald, G. H., et al. (författare)
  • The LOFAR Multifrequency Snapshot Sky Survey (MSSS) : I. Survey description and first results
  • 2015
  • Ingår i: Astronomy and Astrophysics. - 0004-6361 .- 1432-0746. ; 582, s. 1-22
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • <p>We present the Multifrequency Snapshot Sky Survey (MSSS), the first northern-sky Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) imaging survey. In this introductory paper, we first describe in detail the motivation and design of the survey. Compared to previous radio surveys, MSSS is exceptional due to its intrinsic multifrequency nature providing information about the spectral properties of the detected sources over more than two octaves (from 30 to 160 MHz). The broadband frequency coverage, together with the fast survey speed generated by LOFAR’s multibeaming capabilities, make MSSS the first survey of the sort anticipated to be carried out with the forthcoming Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Two of the sixteen frequency bands included in the survey were chosen to exactly overlap the frequency coverage of large-area Very Large Array (VLA) and Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) surveys at 74 MHz and 151 MHz respectively. The survey performance is illustrated within the MSSS Verification Field (MVF), a region of 100 square degrees centered at (<em>α,δ</em>)<sub>J2000</sub> = (15<sup>h</sup>,69°). The MSSS results from the MVF are compared with previous radio survey catalogs. We assess the flux and astrometric uncertainties in the catalog, as well as the completeness and reliability considering our source finding strategy. We determine the 90% completeness levels within the MVF to be 100 mJy at 135 MHz with 108″ resolution, and 550 mJy at 50 MHz with 166″ resolution. Images and catalogs for the full survey, expected to contain 150 000–200 000 sources, will be released to a public web server. We outline the plans for the ongoing production of the final survey products, and the ultimate public release of images and source catalogs.</p>
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5.
  • Heald, G. H., et al. (författare)
  • The LOFAR Multifrequency Snapshot Sky Survey (MSSS) I. Survey description and first results
  • 2015
  • Ingår i: Astronomy and Astrophysics. - 0004-6361 .- 1432-0746. ; 582, s. 22
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • We present the Multifrequency Snapshot Sky Survey (MSSS), the first northern-sky Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) imaging survey. In this introductory paper, we first describe in detail the motivation and design of the survey. Compared to previous radio surveys, MSSS is exceptional due to its intrinsic multifrequency nature providing information about the spectral properties of the detected sources over more than two octaves (from 30 to 160 MHz). The broadband frequency coverage, together with the fast survey speed generated by LOFAR's multibeaming capabilities, make MSSS the first survey of the sort anticipated to be carried out with the forthcoming Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Two of the sixteen frequency bands included in the survey were chosen to exactly overlap the frequency coverage of large-area Very Large Array (VLA) and Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) surveys at 74MHz and 151MHz respectively. The survey performance is illustrated within the MSSS Verification Field (MVF), a region of 100 square degrees centered at (alpha, delta)(J2000) = (15(h), 69 degrees). The MSSS results from the MVF are compared with previous radio survey catalogs. We assess the flux and astrometric uncertainties in the catalog, as well as the completeness and reliability considering our source finding strategy. We determine the 90% completeness levels within the MVF to be 100 mJy at 135 MHz with 108 '' resolution, and 550 mJy at 50 MHz with 166 '' resolution. Images and catalogs for the full survey, expected to contain 150 000-200 000 sources, will be released to a public web server. We outline the plans for the ongoing production of the final survey products, and the ultimate public release of images and source catalogs.
6.
  • Jelic, V., et al. (författare)
  • Initial LOFAR observations of epoch of reionization windows II. Diffuse polarized emission in the ELAIS-N1 field
  • 2014
  • Ingår i: Astronomy and Astrophysics. - 0004-6361 .- 1432-0746. ; 568, s. Articleno. A101
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Aims. This study aims to characterise the polarized foreground emission in the ELAIS-N1 field and to address its possible implications or extracting of the cosmological 21 cm signal from the LOw-Frequency ARray - Epoch of Reionization (LOFAR-EoR) data Methods. We used the high band antennas of LOFAR to image this region and RM-synthesis to unravel structures of polarized emission at high Galactic latitudes. Results. The brightness temperature of the detected Galactic emission is on average similar to 4 K in polarized intensity and covers the range from -10 to +13 rad m(-2) in Faraday depth, The total polarized intensity and polarization angle show a wide range of morphological features. We have also used the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) at 350 MHz to image the same region. The LOFAR and WSRT images show a similar complex morphology at comparable brightness levels, but their spatial correlation is very low. The fractional polarization at 150 MHz, expressed as a percentage of the total intensity, amounts to approximate to 1.5%. There is no indication of diffuse emission in total intensity in the interferometric data. in line with results at higher frequencies Conclusions. The wide frequency range. high angular resolution, and high sensitivity make LOFAR an exquisite instrument for studying Galactic polarized emission at a resolution of similar to 1-2 rad m(-2) in Faraday depth. The different polarized patterns observed at 150 MHz and 350 MHz are consistent with different source distributions along the line of sight wring in a variety of Faraday thin regions of emission. The presence of polarized foregrounds is a serious complication for epoch of reionization experiments. To avoid the leakage of polarized emission into total intensity, which can depend on frequency, we need to calibrate the instrumental polarization across the field of view to a small fraction of 1%.
7.
  • Sugai, H., et al. (författare)
  • Updated Design of the CMB Polarization Experiment Satellite LiteBIRD
  • 2020
  • Ingår i: Journal of Low Temperature Physics. - 0022-2291 .- 1573-7357. ; 199:3-4, s. 1107-1117
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • <p>Recent developments of transition-edge sensors (TESs), based on extensive experience in ground-based experiments, have been making the sensor techniques mature enough for their application on future satellite cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarization experiments. LiteBIRD is in the most advanced phase among such future satellites, targeting its launch in Japanese Fiscal Year 2027 (2027FY) with JAXA's H3 rocket. It will accommodate more than 4000 TESs in focal planes of reflective low-frequency and refractive medium-and-high-frequency telescopes in order to detect a signature imprinted on the CMB by the primordial gravitational waves predicted in cosmic inflation. The total wide frequency coverage between 34 and 448 GHz enables us to extract such weak spiral polarization patterns through the precise subtraction of our Galaxy's foreground emission by using spectral differences among CMB and foreground signals. Telescopes are cooled down to 5 K for suppressing thermal noise and contain polarization modulators with transmissive half-wave plates at individual apertures for separating sky polarization signals from artificial polarization and for mitigating from instrumental 1/f noise. Passive cooling by using V-grooves supports active cooling with mechanical coolers as well as adiabatic demagnetization refrigerators. Sky observations from the second Sun-Earth Lagrangian point, L2, are planned for 3 years. An international collaboration between Japan, the USA, Canada, and Europe is sharing various roles. In May 2019, the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, JAXA, selected LiteBIRD as the strategic large mission No. 2.</p>
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8.
  • van Weeren, R. J., et al. (författare)
  • First LOFAR observations at very low frequencies of cluster-scale non-thermal emission: the case of Abell 2256
  • 2012
  • Ingår i: Astronomy and Astrophysics. - 0004-6361 .- 1432-0746. ; 543, s. Article Number: A43
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Abell 2256 is one of the best known examples of a galaxy cluster hosting large-scale diffuse radio emission that is unrelated to individual galaxies. It contains both a giant radio halo and a relic, as well as a number of head-tail sources and smaller diffuse steep-spectrum radio sources. The origin of radio halos and relics is still being debated, but over the last years it has become clear that the presence of these radio sources is closely related to galaxy cluster merger events. Here we present the results from the first LOFAR low band antenna (LBA) observations of Abell 2256 between 18 and 67 MHz. To our knowledge, the image presented in this paper at 63 MHz is the deepest ever obtained at frequencies below 100 MHz in general. Both the radio halo and the giant relic are detected in the image at 63 MHz, and the diffuse radio emission remains visible at frequencies as low as 20 MHz. The observations confirm the presence of a previously claimed ultra-steep spectrum source to the west of the cluster center with a spectral index of -2.3 +/- 0.4 between 63 and 153 MHz. The steep spectrum suggests that this source is an old part of a head-tail radio source in the cluster. For the radio relic we find an integrated spectral index of -0.81 +/- 0.03, after removing the flux contribution from the other sources. This is relatively flat which could indicate that the efficiency of particle acceleration at the shock substantially changed in the last similar to 0.1 Gyr due to an increase of the shock Mach number. In an alternative scenario, particles are re-accelerated by some mechanism in the downstream region of the shock, resulting in the relatively flat integrated radio spectrum. In the radio halo region we find indications of low-frequency spectral steepening which may suggest that relativistic particles are accelerated in a rather inhomogeneous turbulent region.
9.
  • Delabrouille, J., et al. (författare)
  • Exploring cosmic origins with CORE : Survey requirements and mission design
  • 2018
  • Ingår i: Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics. - 1475-7516 .- 1475-7516. ; :4
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • <p>Future observations of cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarisation have the potential to answer some of the most fundamental questions of modern physics and cosmology, including: what physical process gave birth to the Universe we see today? What are the dark matter and dark energy that seem to constitute 95% of the energy density of the Universe? Do we need extensions to the standard model of particle physics and fundamental interactions? Is the ACDM cosmological scenario correct, or are we missing an essential piece of the puzzle? In this paper, we list the requirements for a future CMB polarisation survey addressing these scientific objectives, and discuss the design drivers of the CORE space mission proposed to ESA in answer to the M5 call for a medium-sized mission. The rationale and options, and the methodologies used to assess the mission's performance, are of interest to other future CMB mission design studies. CORE has 19 frequency channels, distributed over a broad frequency range, spanning the 60-600 GHz interval, to control astrophysical foreground emission. The angular resolution ranges from 2' to 18', and the aggregate CMB sensitivity is about 2 mu K.arcmin. The observations are made with a single integrated focal-plane instrument, consisting of an array of 2100 cryogenically-cooled, linearly-polarised detectors at the focus of a 1.2-m aperture cross-Dragone telescope. The mission is designed to minimise all sources of systematic effects, which must be controlled so that no more than 10(-4) of the intensity leaks into polarisation maps, and no more than about 1% of E-type polarisation leaks into B-type modes. CORE observes the sky from a large Lissajous orbit around the Sun-Earth L2 point on an orbit that offers stable observing conditions and avoids contamination from sidelobe pick-up of stray radiation originating from the Sun, Earth, and Moon. The entire sky is observed repeatedly during four years of continuous scanning, with a combination of three rotations of the spacecraft over different timescales. With about 50% of the sky covered every few days, this scan strategy provides the mitigation of systematic effects and the internal redundancy that are needed to convincingly extract the primordial B-mode signal on large angular scales, and check with adequate sensitivity the consistency of the observations in several independent data subsets. CORE is designed as a near-ultimate CMB polarisation mission which, for optimal complementarity with ground-based observations, will perform the observations that are known to be essential to CMB polarisation science and cannot be obtained by any other means than a dedicated space mission. It will provide well-characterised, highly-redundant multi-frequency observations of polarisation at all the scales where foreground emission and cosmic variance dominate the final uncertainty for obtaining precision CMB science, as well as 2' angular resolution maps of high-frequency foreground emission in the 300-600 GHz frequency range, essential for complementarity with future ground-based observations with large telescopes that can observe the CMB with the same beamsize.</p>
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10.
  • Jelić, V., et al. (författare)
  • Initial LOFAR observations of epoch of reionization windows : II. Diffuse polarized emission in the ELAIS-N1 field
  • 2014
  • Ingår i: Astronomy and Astrophysics. - 0004-6361 .- 1432-0746. ; 568, s. 1-12
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • <p><em>Aims. </em>This study aims to characterise the polarized foreground emission in the ELAIS-N1 field and to address its possible implications for extracting of the cosmological 21 cm signal from the LOw-Frequency ARray – Epoch of Reionization (LOFAR-EoR) data.</p><p><em>Methods. </em>We used the high band antennas of LOFAR to image this region and RM-synthesis to unravel structures of polarized emission at high Galactic latitudes.</p><p><em>Results. </em>The brightness temperature of the detected Galactic emission is on average ~4 K in polarized intensity and covers the range from –10 to + 13 rad m<sup>-2</sup> in Faraday depth. The total polarized intensity and polarization angle show a wide range of morphological features. We have also used the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) at 350 MHz to image the same region. The LOFAR and WSRT images show a similar complex morphology at comparable brightness levels, but their spatial correlation is very low. The fractional polarization at 150 MHz, expressed as a percentage of the total intensity, amounts to ≈1.5%. There is no indication of diffuse emission in total intensity in the interferometric data, in line with results at higher frequencies</p><p><em>Conclusions. </em>The wide frequency range, high angular resolution, and high sensitivity make LOFAR an exquisite instrument for studying Galactic polarized emission at a resolution of ~1–2 rad m<sup>-2</sup> in Faraday depth. The different polarized patterns observed at 150 MHz and 350 MHz are consistent with different source distributions along the line of sight wring in a variety of Faraday thin regions of emission. The presence of polarized foregrounds is a serious complication for epoch of reionization experiments. To avoid the leakage of polarized emission into total intensity, which can depend on frequency, we need to calibrate the instrumental polarization across the field of view to a small fraction of 1%.</p>
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