Welcome to LOFAR FAQ’s documentation!

1. General information and enquiry

How do I communicate with the LOFAR observatory?

Communication with the LOFAR observatory is done through the SDC-Helpdesk (i.e., JIRA ticketing system which is hosted here). Information about the JIRA ticketing system and a step-by-step guide on how to create and manage tickets on the SDC-Helpdesk is explained here.

How do I receive regular updates on the LOFAR telescope?

To receive regular updates, you should subscribe to the lofar-news mailing list. Information on how to do so is found at this link.

2. LOFAR User Account and LTA Access

How do I access, stage and download data from the LTA?

The web interface to the LTA is located at this link. Information on how to search for and retrieve data from the LTA is in the LOFAR wiki. A LOFAR user account is not needed to browse or search for any public and proprietary data on the LTA. However, in order to be able to stage and subsequently download data from the LTA, you need a LOFAR user account with the right privileges. To set this up, you should follow the steps below:

  • First create a LOFAR user account via this link

  • Send the LOFAR observatory a request for LTA user privileges via the SDC-Helpdesk. In the mail, provide the username of your account (the one you just created) and the email address used in creating the account.

  • The helpdesk will grant you the needed privileges to access the LTA and notify you via the created JIRA ticket

What do I do when I login to the LTA for the first time?

When you login to the LTA for the first time after being granted access, you may need to reset your password. To reset your password, follow the procedure stated below:

  • Go to the LTA webpage

  • Click on the LOGIN button at the top-right corner of the page

  • Click on Change Password

  • Then click on Forgotten Password

  • And reset your Password

This procedure is necessary to properly couple the permissions of your LOFAR (MoM and Northstar) account to your LTA account.

I already have a LOFAR user account, so how come I am unable to retrieve data from the LTA?

Note that you don’t get automatic access to the data on the LTA when you create a LOFAR user account. The Observatory first needs to grant you LTA user privileges. If you already have a LOFAR user account, send us a request for LTA user privileges via the SDC-Helpdesk. Make sure you provide your full name, email address and the username of your account.

Once I have been granted the needed privileges to the LTA, do I now have permission to stage and download data from any project on the LTA?

No, with the LTA access privileges granted, you will be able to stage and download only publicly available data in the archives as well as datasets from the projects of which you are either PI or Co-I.

How do I access data from projects that have not become public yet, of which I am neither a PI or Co-I?

The LOFAR Observatory can only grant you access to the data from such (proprietary or commissioning) projects with written permission from the PI. Hence, you need to seek the consent of the PI. And when the PI agrees, he/she will send an email to the Observatory to request that you should be granted permission to access the data of the particular project(s).

I selected the wrong dataset (I checked the wrong boxes) during the staging. Can I cancel the submitted staging requests from the LTA?

Yes, it is possible to abort staging jobs via the LTA python API. Please refer to the link for a guide on how to abort the wrongly-staged tasks. Moreover, you could allow the staging task(s) to continue, but ignore downloading the data ultimately.

Can I only find raw data in the LTA or are higher-level data products (e.g. images and catalogues) also available?

For the vast majority of imaging mode or interferometric observations, only the data products from the averaging pipeline (i.e. raw, pre-processed data) are available. The data products from the calibration, imaging and long baseline pipelines are available for a small number of projects. In the case of beamformed observations, science-ready data products from the Pulsar Pipeline (i.e. de-dispersed time series, dynamic spectra and folded pulse profiles) are available.