Research infrastructure

Physics and engineering sciences

Research infrastructure

Physics and engineering sciences

Onsala Space Observatory and JIVE-ERIC

Swedish facility with telescopes and measuring instruments for radio astronomy and geodesy. JIVE is a central organisation in the Netherlands for the European radio astronomy network EVN. Onsala Space Observatory is the Swedish node in EVN.

Onsala Space Observatory is a Swedish national facility, hosted by Chalmers University of Technology. The observatory builds and operates astronomic and geodetic infrastructure, both on site in Onsala and internationally. This includes local telescopes, used independently or for interferometry, user support, participation in international radio astronomy projects and development of advanced instrumentation.

The radio astronomy research as OSO is mainly focused on studying the interstellar medium and its fundamental role in the development of the universe – from planetary systems to cosmology. The geodetic research focuses on reference frameworks and the Earth’s rotational and gravitational fields, variations in the composition of the atmosphere and sea level measurements.

At Onsala, there are two parabolic antennae (20 m and 25 m in diameter), which are used both for individual observations and together with radio telescopes around the world for interferometry, through the European institute JIVE (Joint Institute for Very-long baseline interferometry ERIC). There is also a station at Onsala that forms part of the international LOFAR network, a predecessor of the SKA project (the global radio telescope Square Kilometre Array).

Onsala hosts the “Nordic ALMA ARC node”, which has the task of supporting Nordic use of ALMA (see also under ESO). The observatory is also responsible for the Swedish part of APEX (see ESO). Advanced instrument development for radio astronomy is also carried out at the national facility.

For many years, Onsala Space Observatory has also been used by the national and international research community within geosciences. Onsala Space Observatory is a “geodetic fundamental station”, which is part of the international station network for International Terrestrial Reference Frame, and contributes to international cooperation, for example within International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, and Global Geodetic Observing System. The instrumentation at Onsala, supported by the Swedish Research Council, is used for research within areas such as reference frames and Earth rotation, the Earth’s gravitational field, variations in the composition of the atmosphere and sea level measurements.



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This infrastructure is funded by the Swedish Research Council.