You are here: Home / Infrastructures / Res. Infrastructure
Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT)
Hosting Legal Entity
Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy
Schattenberg 1, Zwiggelte, PO: 9433 (Netherlands)
Type Of RI
Coordinating Country
Current Status:
Operational since 1970
Being upgraded since 2014
Scientific Description
The Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT), owned and operated by ASTRON in The Netherlands, has 14 fully-steerable parabolic reflectors, distributed in an East-West configuration of 2700m length. It is equipped with a sensitive receiver package providing almost continuous coverage at decimetre and centimetre wavelengths as well as frequency agility. Coupled to its flexible half-million channel correlator, and its modern pulsar and VLBI backends, the WSRT continues to be a uniquely capable facility in the world that is consistently oversubscribed and draws a wide international user base. The WSRT is currently being transformed into an efficient 21cm L-band survey facility by replacing the front-ends in 12 telescopes by Phased Array Feeds (PAFs). Operations with the Multi-Frequency-Frontend (MFFEs) receivers and associated backends terminated on June 24, 2015.The APERTIF system significantly increases the field of view and thereby the survey speed of the WSRT. This upgrade is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. With Apertif, many beams can be formed simultaneously at each dish (nominally 37), enlarging the instantaneous Field-of-View of the 12 WSRT dishes to 8 square degrees (an increase of a factor of 30 compared to the current WSRT) and 16384 spectral channels can be formed over a 300 MHz contiguous bandpass that can be tuned anywhere between 1000 and 1750 MHz. The majority of the observing time from 2017-2020 will then be dedicated to survey work and APERTIF will be used to carry out a limited number of surveys. These surveys will be defined on the basis of thescience interests expressed by the community and the technical capabilities of the operational system.The ASTRON Radio Observatory and the APERTIF Survey Team have put together two documents which are available at: documents describe the process and requirements for interested parties to join the APERTIF survey team. They also detail a number of draft surveys that have been defined after community input and will befurther developed to form the APERTIF Survey Program, again in close collaboration with the community. We invite parties interested in joining the APERTIF Survey Team to contact us using the contact detailslisted in the documents.With the experiences made in the operation of such systems and in the scientific exploit of large radio surveys, the WSRT will play a crucial role in the preparation of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA).

RI Keywords
Physics of the black holes, Astrophysics, Interferometry, Radioastronomy, Kinematics of nearby galaxies, Pulsars
RI Category
Scientific Domain
Physics, Astronomy, Astrophysics and Mathematics
ESFRI Domain
Physical Sciences and Engineering

Access to the radio astronomical array, including logistical, technological and scientific support.


Array of 14 antennas of 25 m diameter each arrange on a 2.7 km East-West line, with equatorial mounting. Frequency: 250 MHz - 8.3 GHz, max. angular resolution: 2.2 arcsec (8.3 GHz), 72 arcsec (250 MHz).

Date of last update: 31/08/2018
Printable version