To the world's beginnings

The UWM's radio-astronomical station in Bałdy is having new antennae installed. One day they may receive a signal from outer space, a signal anticipated by the entire humanity.

The antennae look really inconspicuous. Some are 0.5 metre tall while some other are 1.5 metre in size. There will be 96 of each type installed at the station. They will be collecting electromagnetic radiation on poorly explored and extremely low frequencies. This type of radiation arrives from the extremely remote corners of the Universe, some of them created just after the Big Bang. It is possible that some of these signals come from intelligent beings. The findings offered by the station may benefit cosmology as well as other sciences such time research, solar physics, cosmic radiation and ionosphere research as well as studies on lightnings and even agriculture.

Even though it is designed to reach to the utmost corners of the Universe, the station is concealed deep underground.

"On a 2.5-ha plot of land, we have had 2 km of ditches dug and 40 km of cables distributed. We are now waiting for the antennae to be installed. The launch is scheduled for the latter part of August," says Professor Andrzej Karnkowski (right), academic researcher at the Faculty of Geodesy, Spatial Engineering and Construction, Head of the Centre for the Cosmic Environment Radio Diagnostics and Head of the Satellite Observatory in Lamkówko.

Researchers from the Centre for the Cosmic Environment Radio Diagnostics at the University of Warmia and Mazury, Olsztyn, and radio astronomer Leszek Błaszkiewicz (left), PhD, researcher at the Chair of Relativistic Physics of the Faculty of Mathematics and IT, are going to both handle the station and conduct research there. The radio-astronomical station in Bałdy is POLFAR's only such research unit in Poland, but the company is planning to extend their number to three. POLFAR is a Polish research consortium established in 2007. It brings together the Jagiellonian University, Kraków, University of Warmia and Mazury, Olsztyn; Centre for Cosmic Research, Polish Academy of Sciences; Mikołaj Kopernik University, Toruń, University of Zielona Góra; Mikołaj Kopernik Astronomical Centre, Polish Academy of Sciences; University of Szczecin; University of Life Sciences, Wrocław; Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences; and Poznań Supercomputer and Network Centre. Professor Krankowski acts as POLFAR's Vice President. In 2013, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education allocated ca. 26 million PLN for the consortium to develop 3 radio-astronomical stations which are going to join the LOFAR system. This multi-antennae radio telescope deploys radio waves interference. The telescope combines 25 thousand antennae divided into 36 clusters (stations) scattered around Europe. The central cluster is located in the Netherlands. All stations are interconnected with a high speed computer network. Data from the system are collected and processed by a super-fast computer at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.

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