ASTRON is the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. We observe and investigate the signals that the Universe emits at radio wavelengths. Our mission is to make discoveries in radio astronomy happen. This means that we not only do fundamental astronomy research, but we also design and manage some of the world's leading radio telescopes as well as pushing the boundaries of technology to create ever better and more sensitive instruments. ASTRON is an institute of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).
Our astronomers and engineers are renowned internationally. Our astronomers conduct pioneering research on our own Milky Way, as well as on far-off star systems at the edge of the Universe. Our engineers develop innovative antennas, high-tech electronics and intuitive software. Thanks to our cooperating technicians and scientists, even after fifty years the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) is still one of the best telescopes in the world.
The Low Frequency Array (LOFAR), designed, developed and operated by ASTRON, is a unique instrument that is measuring the earliest phases of the Universe, as well as transient flashes in the sky, rotating neutron stars and colliding black holes. Furthermore, ASTRON is a partner of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which will be the world's largest and most sensitive radio telescope. The knowledge that we gained by building WSRT and LOFAR, is of high value towards the design and building of SKA.
The astronomical research at ASTRON is closely aligned with the strengths of our facilities LOFAR and WSRT/Apertif and contributes to the development and definition of the scientific programme and capabilities of the next generation of major international facilities such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Our research themes are: Space Weather, Clusters, Cosmology, Compact Objects, Active Galactic Nuclei, Radio Transients, Nearby Galaxies, Gravitational Lensing and Low Frequency Surveys.
Students interested in obtaining a Ph.D. in astronomy can do so under the supervision of ASTRON staff members. The students will be officially located at one of the Dutch Universities (Amsterdam, Groningen, Leiden, Nijmegen) but will visit ASTRON regularly. We also offer a limited number of projects for Master students. In addition we have a summer research program that provides highly motivated undergraduates with the opportunity to carry out a summer research project under the mentorship of an astronomy staff member.
For more information on these student opportunities, visit our website.