The First ASTRON/ JIVE Traineeship Programme in Science Operations with Massive Arrays
LOFAR and the EVN, thereby developing
We cannot speak highly enough of the
the requisite skills in order to operate next-
experience provided by the traineeship; and
generation astronomy facilities such as the
in particular, the opportunity given to us to
SKA. To achieve this goal, we were assigned
act as telescope scientists on duty and lead
mentors within the Science Support Teams
daily operational meetings and activities. This
at ASTRON and JIVE, who taught us how
helped boost our confidence in the overall
to master independently the complex array
science operations of the LOFAR instrument.
of tasks required for supporting LOFAR and
We found the work environment at ASTRON
EVN observing programmes. The traineeship
and JIVE very friendly and gave us the
took the form of lectures, workshops, talks,
opportunity to engage in daily interactions
colloquia, discussions, site visits, hands-on
with scientists, engineers and support staff
experiences and operational duty assignments.
working at the institute.
In 2018 ASTRON and JIVE initiated a new flagship training programme, named “Traineeship in Science Operations with Massive Arrays”. The aim was to share the expertise in operating massive arrays ahead of next-generation world-class astronomy facilities such as LOFAR and SKA. The first traineeship was held from 7 May – 27 July at ASTRON and JIVE, for two participants (Bernard Duah Asabere and Emmanuel Bempong-Manful), who both came from a SKA AVN (African VLBI Network) partner country, Ghana. Below is a report from Bernard and Emmanuel on their experiences during the programme.
A very important and useful segment of the
We have learned so much and further
traineeship was the introduction to the JIVE
consolidated our knowledge and background
SFX Correlator and the ASTRON infrastructure
in radio astronomy. More importantly,
which consisted of visits to the LOFAR core
we have acquired hands-on experience
station, the central processing site (COBALT
in the science operations of cutting-edge
and CEP clusters) in Groningen, the Long
astronomical facilities, and we feel privileged
Term Archive (LTA) site at SURFsara and the
to have been part of this journey. It was
Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope. We
indeed a once-in-a-lifetime experience that
were given tours of these facilities by experts
we recommend every young radio astronomer
to learn about their operation and overall
(either at Postdoc, PhD or graduate student
level) to have at some point in their career.
Emmanuel Bempong-Manful (email@example.com) and Bernard Duah Asabere (firstname.lastname@example.org) The 12-week traineeship programme included 11 weeks of full exposure to the LOFAR system and operations, and one week of training in VLBI operations and science at JIVE. The programme aimed at giving the trainees the opportunity to acquire expertise in operating Figure 1: Group photo of trainees with SOS group of ASTRON at the institute in Dwingeloo.
ASTRON News / Winter 2018