LOFAR stands for LOw Frequency Array and is a new radio telescope under construction by ASTRON in the Netherlands operating between 10 and 240 MHz. In this largely unexplored frequency range, LOFAR will be the dominant telescope over the next decade. The radio waves are sampled digitally, the signal then is transmitted over large baselines to a high-performance computing facility, where the radio images are synthesized in real time. This innovative design based on digital beam-forming will allow to point the telescope simultaneously at several positions on sky. The improvement in sensitivity and resolution by a factor of 100 - 1000 compared with present-day telescopes will open a new window to the Universe.
The science interests of the German astrophysical community that LOFAR can address are in the fields of cosmology, extragalactic astronomy & surveys, Galactic astronomy, solar system science, variable & transient sources, and astroparticle physics, where the German community has long-standing experience. The planned German contribution to LOFAR are 12 LOFAR Remote Stations and a LOFAR Science Network.
LOFAR will serve as the low-frequency precursor for a European and in particular a German participation in the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), the next-generation international radio telescope, which is envisaged for the years beyond 2015. The SKA is planned to cover the whole radio window accessible from the ground, from 100 MHz to about 25 GHz.
This splinter meeting was meant to foster a broad discussion on the open scientific questions to be addressed with LOFAR and SKA.
R. Beck, MPIfR, Bonn
M. Brueggen, International University of Bremen
H. Falcke, ASTRON and University of Nijmegen
PDF files of all talks and most posters are avaible on: LOFAR-AG-Koeln
Abstracts were published in Astronomische Nachrichten, No.7, 326 (2005) at WILEY-VCH.