The International LOFAR (LOw Frequency ARray) Telescope is a €150 million network of radio telescopes distributed across Europe; the telescope is used to observe the Universe in unprecedented detail at low radio frequencies.
In July 2017 Ireland officially joined the LOFAR consortium.
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LOFAR is one of the largest astrophysics projects in Europe, consisting of 11 international stations spread across Germany, Poland, France, UK, and Sweden, with additional stations and a central hub in The Netherlands. The network uses state-of-the-art data processing and storage systems as well as sophisticated computing techniques to combine the entire network into a telescope with the effective size of the European continent
The Irish telescope is located at Birr, Co Offaly adjacent to the historic Leviathan telescope, which was built by the 3rd Earl of Rosse in 1845 and was the largest optical telescope in the world until 1917. The telescope in Birr has been supported with an award of €1.4 million from Science Foundation Ireland and the annual membership fee for LOFAR will be funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
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More information about I-LOFAR can be found at www.lofar.ie