Close Connections with two Major Astronomical Foundations
The research work is carried out within one of the research groups of the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, under the supervision of a staff astronomer. Kapteyn staff are involved in observational and theoretical research dealing with:
<div><a href="http://www.rug.nl/fmns-research/kapteyn/areas/agn-quasars">Active Galactic Nuclei and Quasars</a></div>
<div><a href="http://www.rug.nl/fmns-research/kapteyn/areas/cosmology">Cosmology and the Large Scale Structure of the Universe</a></div>
<div><a href="http://www.rug.nl/fmns-research/kapteyn/areas/galaxies">Formation, Evolution and Structure of Galaxies</a></div>
<div><a href="http://www.rug.nl/fmns-research/kapteyn/areas/he-compact">High-energy astrophysics: Neutron stars and black holes</a></div>
<div><a href="http://www.rug.nl/fmns-research/kapteyn/areas/ism-starform">Star and Planet formation and the Interstellar Medium of Galaxies</a></div>
<div><a href="http://www.rug.nl/fmns-research/kapteyn/areas/vo-datacenter">Virtual Observatory and Astronomical Datacenters</a></div>
<p>The Kapteyn Astronomical Institute uses the most advanced instrumentation on the ground and in space, as well as the most advanced computing facilities. Kapteyn staff are involved in the operation as well as planning and construction of major astronomical instrumentation efforts, again on the ground and in space. Master students at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute work in research groups which are currently shaping 21st-century astronomy and astrophysics. The Kapteyn Institute has close connections with the two major national foundations dealing with astronomical instrumentation: <a href="http://www.astron.nl/" target="_blank">ASTRON</a> and <a href="http://www.sron.nl/" target="_blank">SRON</a>.</p>
<p>ASTRON, the Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy, provides front-line observation facilities for Dutch astronomers and astronomers worldwide across a broad range of frequencies and technologies. ASTRON operates the Westerbork Radio Synthesis Telescope, one of the largest in the world, and offers a strong technology development programme, encompassing both innovative instrumentation for existing telescopes and new technologies for future facilities. The latter include the new, revolutionary low-frequency array LOFAR and the APERTIF antenna array, which will be operated by ASTRON together with the University of Groningen. ASTRON and its facilities are within a one-hour drive from Groningen. <br /><br />SRON is the national centre of expertise for the development and exploitation of satellite instruments for astrophysical and earthoriented research. The low energy astrophysics branch of SRON (infrared and submillimeter instrumentation and techniques) is hosted by the University of Groningen. Scientific discoveries and instrumentation development go hand in hand as a result of the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute-SRON Groningen connections (IRAS, ISO, Herschel Space Observatory, just to mention a few successful missions). In short, the combination offered by the University of Groningen and the ASTRON and SRON Institutes is unique in the world.</p>
'I've been working as Junior Commissioning Engineer for ASTRON, a radio astronomy institute, for about a year now. I did my final project here as part of my Master's programme in Instrumentation & Informatics, and they offered me a job.
This job ties in perfectly with my degree programme, although team meetings and project-based work were new for me. As a Commissioning Engineer my job is to make sure that the systems and equipment are ready for use. I test subsystems and check that they continue to function correctly when used in tandem, for example.
I am currently working on a receiver for the Westerbork Radio Synthesis Telescope. My work involves analysing data from behind my computer, but also taking measurements on location together with the system developers. This combination of concrete and practical work combined with the development of systems for hard science suits me perfectly!’