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LOFAR operations during Cycle 10 and future challenges November 14th 2018 marked the end of the eleventh LOFAR operational Cycle, Cycle 10. During this semester, successful science operations progressed side-by-side with maintenance activities and software development. The Radio Observatory is working hard to prepare for new system upgrades which will improve the efficiency of the observing system. Roberto Pizzo (

taken to significantly improve the handling

the people who will operate next generation

of the large flow of data through the system

facilities like SKA. To achieve this, we have

and advance the production processing

successfully completed the first traineeship

pipelines to deliver more advanced data

programme in ‘Science Operations with

products to the community.

Massive Arrays’ and are already preparing for the next programme in 2019.

Dysco, the visibility compression tool, is active in production since early September and

With important achievements accomplished

allows the compression of imaging data by

already, the Radio Observatory is working

a factor of 3.6 without significant sensitivity

hard on very crucial challenges associated

loss. We have continued enhancing the data

with the “LOFAR observing efficiency

quality monitoring procedures through

project”. This will run for the next two

the development of a new generation

years and, when completed, will deliver a

of inspection plots based on artificial

more robust and automatic system to the

intelligence algorithms, which should become

community. In particular, it will enable the

available in production by the end of the

Radio Observatory to offer most of the

year. Moreover, we have taken steps towards

telescope time as regular observing time,

delivering more advanced data products

realising uniform observing efficiencies of the

to our community of users by starting the

order of 75%.

deployment in production of new imaging pipelines, which should be offered to the

The important work described above

community in the Cycle 12 proposal call.

translates into an ever-increasing scientific productivity of LOFAR. To date, more than

Cycle 10 covered the period 15 May – 14

Over the past years of operations, the Radio

200 LOFAR papers have been published in

November 2018. The Cycle 10 proposal

Observatory has clearly acquired significant

the professional literature and publications

call was a particularly important one, as

experience in operating massive arrays like

are produced at a rate of one per week (see

it allowed proposers to submit long-term

LOFAR and it is imperative to share it with


proposals and have access to part of the telescope time also for the upcoming Cycles, till the end of Cycle 13. In total, 8700 observing and 7800 processing hours were allocated to 13 long-term proposals. Additionally, 670 observing and 920 processing hours were allocated to 21 single-Cycle 10 projects. By the end of the semester, 95% of the observing programme was completed and the rest is being observed with second priority in Cycle 11, as per Radio Observatory policy. During the past semester, maintenance activities and software development progressed side by side with successful science operations. Specifically, important steps were


ASTRON News / Winter 2018

ASTRON News Winter 2018  
ASTRON News Winter 2018