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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

scientific capabilities.

level) to have at some point in their career.

Emmanuel Bempong-Manful ( and Bernard Duah Asabere ( 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


ASTRON News Winter 2018  
ASTRON News Winter 2018