Information about ASTRON


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.

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. LOFAR (the LOw Frequency ARray), designed, developed and operated by us, 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.

ASTRON also hosts the Optical/Infrared instrumentation group of the Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA) and JIVE, the Joint Institute for VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometry) ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium). JIVE combines the signals from radio telescopes across Europe, Asia and South Africa.

ASTRON is part of the institutes organisation of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

AstroTec Holding B.V (ATH) is ASTRON's holding company, set up to facilitate the transfer of the technology developed by ASTRON for astronomy, to the market place. The valorization of ASTRON technology and expertise is made in collaboration with regional partners and other major industrial players.

Design: Kuenst.    Development: Dripl.    © 2020 ASTRON