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LOFAR-BG Accepted in the Updated National Roadmap for Scientific Infrastructure!

The LOFAR-BG infrastructure project, coordinated by the Institute of astronomy and National Astronomical Observatory (IANAO), was recently approved for inclusion into the updated National Roadmap for Scientific Infrastructure 2021-2027! We are very pleased with this successful outcome.

In the next 13 years, the project execution foresees the building and development of a Bulgarian observational station of the pan-European distributed LOFAR radio telescope, and the creation of human potential for carrying out specific astrophysical and geophysical research with the Bulgarian station and the entire LOFAR telescope.

In addition, the successful execution of this project will guarantee the development of scientific and engineering potential, of the capability for hardware and software maintenance of the LOFAR-BG station, of capability for processing and archiving of petabyte-scale volumes of observational data, and of new automated analysis methodologies via Artificial Intellect. The project foresees active partnerships and exchange of know-how with industry, as well as dissemination and outreach activities.

The LOFAR-BG station will position Bulgaria at the top of radioastronomical observing capabilities in Southeastern Europe. Maintaining and enriching further this unique research infrastructure will enable the development of innovative scientific and engineering topics in ICT (real-time signal processing, time series and image analysis with AI, data clustering and archiving), as well as transfer of scientific and technological know-how from international collaborations. An additional goal of the project is creation of spin-off companies in radio communications and ICT.

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The STELLAR Project Approved!

We would like to share the wonderful news that our project proposal “Scientific and Technological Excellence by Leveraging LOFAR Advancements in Radio Astronomy” (STELLAR) to the H2020-WIDESPREAD-05-2020-Twinning program has been approved by the European Commission with funding of nearly 900 000 Euro!

The STELLAR project duration will be three years. Its main goal is to increase the capability of Bulgarian astronomers and radio engineers to work with the LOFAR telescope. The Institute of Astronomy and National Astronomical Observatory (IANAO) will serve as coordinator of the project. The Technical University of Sofia (TUS) will also participate from the Bulgarian side. The international partners on the project will be the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) and the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON). They will prepare and carry out a number of training events in the Netherlands, Ireland, and Bulgaria, for Bulgarian astronomers and engineers.

The STELLAR project is part of a long-term strategy of IANAO to develop modern radio astronomy in Bulgaria, by providing access to the newest pan-European and worldwide observational infrastructures. It will help the small but dynamic radio astronomical community in Bulgaria to obtain and develop the necessary skills and expertise for successfully building, maintaining, and exploiting a Bulgarian LOFAR station. Apart from the training events, the project will include the realization of three open summer schools in Bulgaria – in radio astronomy, space weather, and radio technologies. It is expected that the STELLAR project will begin in September 2020.

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The STELLAR Project Approved!

We would like to share the wonderful news that our project proposal “Scientific and Technological Excellence by Leveraging LOFAR Advancements in Radio Astronomy” (STELLAR) to the H2020-WIDESPREAD-05-2020-Twinning program has been approved by the European Commission with funding of nearly 900 000 Euro!

The STELLAR project duration will be three years. Its main goal is to increase the capability of Bulgarian astronomers and radio engineers to work with the LOFAR telescope. The Institute of Astronomy and National Astronomical Observatory (IANAO) will serve as coordinator of the project. The Technical University of Sofia (TUS) will also participate from the Bulgarian side. The international partners on the project will be the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) and the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON). They will prepare and carry out a number of training events in the Netherlands, Ireland, and Bulgaria, for Bulgarian astronomers and engineers.

The STELLAR project is part of a long-term strategy of IANAO to develop modern radio astronomy in Bulgaria, by providing access to the newest pan-European and worldwide observational infrastructures. It will help the small but dynamic radio astronomical community in Bulgaria to obtain and develop the necessary skills and expertise for successfully building, maintaining, and exploiting a Bulgarian LOFAR station. Apart from the training events, the project will include the realization of three open summer schools in Bulgaria – in radio astronomy, space weather, and radio technologies. It is expected that the STELLAR project will begin in September 2020.

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Video presentations from the LOFAR seminar

For everyone who was not able to take part in our seminar on the European radio telescope LOFAR  in december, you can now watch a video of the presentations (English) as well as a discussion with the lecturers on how to fund and create such scientific infrastructures!

In the first presentation Dr. Rene Vermeulen, director of the International LOFAR telescope, ASTRON, The Netherlands, shared the scientific capabilities of the LOFAR telescope.

Dr. Carla Baldovin from ASTRON shared details on how the telescope is organized, what are the different partners and international consortia involved.

Professor Peter Gallagher from Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies (DIAS) recreated in his presentation the fascinating adventure of developing the Irish LOFAR station and consortium.

Dr. Eoin Carley from DIAS shared with the audience details on the science research  I-LOFAR.

Mr. Mārcis Donerblics from Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Center (VIRAC) gave details on how the newest LOFAR station is Latvia is created.

Dr. Pietro Zucca from ASTRON presented the scientific discoveries of LOFAR in the field of heliophysics and space weather.

Аssoc. Prof. Kamen Kozarev from the Institute of Astronomy, Bulgarian Academy of Science (BAS) made a summary of the work done to initiate the Bulgarian LOFAR station and consortium.

The last part of the seminar was dedicated to a discussion on practical steps and experience in establishment and management of LOFAR telescope and its international stations.

All seminar videos can be also found on Institute of Astronomy’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClZruvzhN8UFmJm58Lo5G2A

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After the LOFAR seminar

On December 3rd, the seminar “LOFAR Radio Telescope – Advantages and Opportunities” was held, where we were visited by experts in radio astronomy from the Netherlands, Ireland and Latvia.

We discussed the possibilities of this exclusive distributed European telescope for exploring the universe and for enriching Bulgaria’s scientific infrastructures! Coming soon presentations and videos on this site!

We thank our colleagues from the Ministry of Education and Science and Minister Karina Angelieva for the participation, we also thank Sofia Tech Park for the hospitality!

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International LOFAR seminar

We’re extremely happy to announce that the Institute of Astronomy with National Astronomical Observatory at the Bulgarian Academy of Science, is organizing international seminar-discussion, dedicated on pan-European distributed low-frequency radio telescope LOFAR!

The day-long event will hold place in December 3, 2019, Tuesday, at the Sofia Tech Park (Hall 125, Laboratory complex).

The goals of the seminar are 1) presenting to the Bulgarian astronomical community the benefits of the LOFAR telescope, 2) discussing the creation of a National consortium for building and managing a Bulgarian LOFAR station, 3) inclusion in the International LOFAR Telescope.

We have invited great lecturers: 

Rene Vermeulen – Director of International LOFAR Telescope, ASTRON, Netherlands

Carla Baldovin – Policy Officer LOFAR and European Radio Facilities, ASTRON, Netherlands

Pietro Zucca – Staff Researcher, Co-Chair of LOFAR Solar KSP, ASTRON, Netherlands

Peter Gallagher – Senior Professor, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Head of Irish LOFAR, Ireland

Eoin Carley – Research Scientist, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Head of Irish LOFAR, Ireland

Marcis Donerblics  – Deputy head of technical service, Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Center, Latvia

Ilia Roussev – Program Director, Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, NSF, USA


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Application for the National Roadmap for Scientific Infrastructure

In mid-August of 2019, the Institute of Astronomy and National Astronomical Observatory at the Bulgarian Academy of Science submitted an application for extension of the National Roadmap for Scientific Infrastructure with a LOFAR station. The application was made as a response to an open invitation by the Ministry of Education and Science. With our application we’ve informed officially the Ministry for our plans in developing National Radioastronomical Observatory, based on future Bulgarian LOFAR station. The plan envisages an overall layout and design by 2021, preparation of the conceptual and technical design for the LOFAR station by 2022, creation and first light of the station itself in 2023. We expect feedback from the Ministry of Education and Science 🙂