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Astronomers open new window into stellar radio astronomy with LOFAR

posted Nov 16, 2016, 1:53 AM by I LOFAR   [ updated Nov 16, 2016, 1:54 AM ]

A research group at the Dublin Insitute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) has recently used LOFAR to detect T Tau, a young sun-like star. This is the lowest frequency detection of a young stellar object to date, and the first ever detection of a young star with LOFAR. This detection was made possible by combining the next-generation quality data produced by LOFAR with high performance computing provided by DIAS and the Irish Centre for High End Computing (ICHEC). Observing young stars at these extremely low frequencies offers new ways to characterise their radio emission and paves the way for investigating the formation of stars like our Sun with future radio telescopes such as the Square Kilometer Array.

The colour scale shows the radio emission associated with T Tau detected at 149 MHz (2 m)  with LOFAR and the contours show the radio emission detected at higher frequency (longer wavelength) at 610 MHz (0.5 m) with the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT). The LOFAR detection is the longest wavelength detection of a young star to date. The radio emission is believed to arise due to ionisation via shocks in the supersonic outflows driven by this newly forming Sun-like star.