The LOFAR4SW team has been working hard over the last couple of years to deliver a design of an upgrade to LOFAR to become a space weather monitoring instrument in the future, that could work in parallel to regular astronomy observations. You can image the complexity of this task. The design encompasses science use cases, an upgrade to the HBA (only electronics, no mechanical parts have been considered), monitoring and control software, pipelines, operations model and governance aspects. The image gives only a small impression of what this design is about.
The major milestone in the project is the critical design review, held on September 21-23. The design was put under the scrutiny of a panel of experts from different domains and expertise formed by:
Tim Bastian (chair – NRAO)
Iver Cairns (U. of Sydney)
Andre Csillaghy (U. of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland)
Boudewijn Hut (ASTRON)
David Jackson (UK MetOffice)
Menno Norden (ASTRON)
Federico Perini (INAF)
The most challenging aspect was that it included people at very distant locations, giving only a reduced timeframe each day for discussions. Luckily it turned out to work very efficiently. During the three days the team presented the different parts of the design and had constructive and insightful discussions with the reviewers. The review panel will deliver a report any day now and the collaboration is preparing to wrap up the project in February 2022.
Other activities in this period include a Stakeholder’s workshop (October 14), where the team presented the design and discussed possibilities for the future together with members of the ILT board, ASTRON MT, and Solar and space weather KSP. On October 27, the project was presented during the fair & poster session at European Space Weather Week to the broader space weather community.
Author: Carla Baldovin