Nazionale di AstroFisica
ISTITUTO DI RADIOASTRONOMIA
ABOUT THE INSTITUTE OF RADIOASTRONOMY
Istituto di Radioastronomia (IRA) was created in 1970 by
the National Research Council (CNR) from a pre-existing group of
scientists, engineers and technicians who designed and
built the Northern Cross radio telescope under the
guidance of Prof. Marcello Ceccarelli, the father of
radioastronomy in Italy. In January 2005 the IRA
became part of the Italian National Institute for
Astrophysics ( INAF )
is the Institute where radioastronomy research is
carried out in Italy. The major focus of reasearch is
mainly extragalactic astrophysics, from the astrophysics
of radiogalaxies and quasars to clusters of galaxies.
However, a considerable effort is also devoted to
galactic astrophysics, from star-formations to stellar
astrophysics. A third research area is constituted by
Earth physics, mainly geodetic research. The Institute
develops state-of-the-art electronics, technology
systems, and software for the realization of radio
telescopes and related facilities. The Institute
operates a computer center, which is specialized in
imaging techniques and serves as a reference center for
the software service of the CNR Area
. The role played by the IRA is
recognized at International levels and the Institute is
the main interlocutor for radioastronomy research in
*More about research programs at the IRA.
has a staff of about 100 people including astronomers,
electronic engineers-physicists, software specialists,
technical and administrative personnel. In addition,
scientists from the Astronomy and Physics Departments of
the University of Bologna are affiliated with the
Institute. Headquarters are located in Bologna. Other
divisions of the Institute are located in Medicina
(near Bologna) and Noto.
* More about staff .
operates three radio telescope facilities for use by the
scientific community: the "Northern Cross
Radiotelescope", located in Medicina, and two 32-m
single dish antennas located in Medicina and Noto
(Sicily). The antennas are part of the VLBI (Very Long
Baseline Interferometry) global network for about 150
days a year. On September 30, 2013, a new
radiotelescope, the Sardinia Radio Telescope, or
SRT, formed by a 64-m antenna located near
Cagliari, has been officially dedicated. SRT is a 64-m
fully steerable parabolic antenna capable of high
efficiency operation at frequencies between 0.3 - 100
GHz. Once fully operative, SRT will be a remarkable node
of the European VLBI Network (EVN) but it will be also a
powerful instrument when used on its own as a
single-dish radio telescope. The IRA is part of European
Institutes such as JIVE Joint
Institute for VLBI in Europe ( Rationale
for the IRA-INAF contribution to
JIVE), and participates in Consortia such as the
European VLBI Network ( EVN ) and the International VLBI Service for
Geodesy and Astronomy ( IVS ). The IRA is involved in future
astronomical projects like ALMA ,
, LOFAR , and is a main partner in the European
Framework Programs funded by the European Union in
projects like RadioNet
and NEXPReS . Also on behalf of INAF the IRA hosts
an Alma Regional Center ( ARC
*More about telescopes .
is a strong supporter of the ALMA project within ESO and
has agreed to host the Italian node, at the request of
and financed by INAF. The ARC (Alma Regional Center)
will provide face-to-face support on scientific and
technical matters to users of the Italian and
international community. In particular, its tasks are to
help ALMA users with calibration and advanced data
reduction, and to develop algorithms and specific
procedures. The ARC will also stimulate use of ALMA
among the Italian community, through the organization of
schools and workshops, and by helping to define
nation-wide scientific projects of common interest.
* More about ARC-ALMA .
ELABORATION CENTER (CED)
behalf of INAF a new accounting Data Elaboration Center
(CED) has become operational since 2005 at IRA Bologna.
The CED provides administrative, book keeping and
technical support for the entire INAF.
* More about CED .
University Interactions - There are numerous and strong
interactions between the IRA and its divisions with the
local Universities. This is particularly true in Bologna
but also in any division where there is a group of
scientists like in Catania. At present, IRA
personnel and collaborators teach several University
courses. Also Italian Laurea Theses are assigned as well
as PhD theses. The web page of the Department of
Astronomy of the University of Bologna can be found at
this link: http://www.astronomia.unibo.it/Astronomia/default.htm
SCHOOLS AND CONFERENCES - The IRA is also involved in the organization of workshops, schools and conferences. In Bologna on average 1 or 2 meetings a year are organized. For more details please look at Piano Triennale link under Activities.
* More about Outreach .