LOFAR Telescope

LOFAR Telescope
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LOFAR is the first telescope using an array of simple omni-directional antennas instead of mechanical signal processing with a dish antenna. The electronic signals from the antennas are digitised, transported to a central digital processor, and combined in software to emulate a conventional antenna. The cost is dominated by the cost of electronics and will follow Moore's law, becoming cheaper with time and allowing increasingly large telescopes to be built. So LOFAR is an IT-telescope. The antennas are simple enough but there are a lot of them - 25000 in the full LOFAR design. To make radio pictures of the sky with adequate sharpness, these antennas are to be arranged in clusters that are spread out over an area of ultimately 350 km in diameter. (In phase 1 that is currently funded 15000 antenna's and maximum baselines of 100 km will be built). Data transport requirements are in the range of many Tera-bits/sec and the processing power needed is tens of Tera-FLOPS.
Submitted by elementlist on May 03, 2005
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