LOFAR4SW 2020 highlights

2020 has been a difficult and challenging in many ways. We all had to adapt to work under very unusual and challenging circumstances. For the LOFAR4SW project things were not  different. Despite the difficulties, we can now look back at this year and be proud of the  work done by the collaboration.

A detailed study of existing and future (radio) space weather instruments and the location of LOFAR4SW in this landscape was published by Carley et al 2020.

In March, the project had a successful Detailed Design Review meeting despite the last-minute change of going online. In May, we hosted an online End Users Workshop that attracted 54 participants from a wide range of organisations and expertise; space weather scientists, forecasters and commercial service providers.

Another important achievement was the use cases prioritisation. This task started in 2018 at the Science Definition Workshop in Paris, and continued throughout the project. The End Users Workshop provided the final push to complete it.

We have now a prototype station with 4 HBA tiles now working in Chilbolton to test continuous monitoring observations, monitoring and control software and the pipelines developed in our project.

The design of the dual-beam tile has progressed considerably and we are moving from a first prototype, in which all individual blocks were developed and verified, to a second prototype that integrates these blocks into a tile. The tile contains ASICs and discrete implementation of the LNA and Beamformer functions, designed in a collaboration between ASTRON and Nançay.

We close the year with the positive decision from the European Commission to extend our project by 9 months based on the delays related to Covid-19. LOFAR4SW will continue until February 2022.

We look forward to next year when we will see all our efforts materialise for the Critical Design Review. 2021 will be an exciting year for our project!

Author: Carla Baldovin

See also: https://www.astron.nl/dailyimage/main.php?date=20201221

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