Onsala’s first LOFAR antennas pass the moose test

Daniel Johansson making sure the
HBA tile lid is on right.

Mooseprint in the forest next to the field

The Onsala LOFAR station has its first antennas in place. 27 of the station’s 96 high-frequency antenna tiles arrived by truck from the Netherlands, and then transported by tractor, fork-lift (an Onsala speciality), crane and finally hand to their place on the HBA chessboard.

– We’re right on schedule. The plan was to install eight tiles a day and we’re keeping to that, says Leif Helldner.

At the weekend the field had a visit from one of its more important neighbours: a moose.

– It walked round past the HBA tiles and then right over the LBA field, Leif tells me.

It’ll be the last time a moose gets that close to the LOFAR antennas. In a few days Leif’s team will be putting up a mooseproof and deerproof fence around the site. We can’t be sure that our four-legged neighbours are as interested in science as we are.

The Onsala HBA transporter, specially designed for the new antennas in their polystyrene flatpacks.

Lifting the 27th HBA tile into place…

…ready for Karl-Åke Johansson and Lars Pettersson to check the cable connections.

About Robert Cumming

Astronomer and information officer at Onsala Space Observatory. Press contact for LOFAR in Sweden.
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