ASTRON is the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, an institute of NWO-I. Our mission is to make discoveries in radio astronomy happen. We do this by developing new and innovative technologies, operating world-class radio astronomy facilities, and pursuing fundamental astronomical research.
ASTRON was founded in 1950 as the “Stichting Radiostraling van Zon en Melkweg” (Foundation for Radio radiation from the Sun and Milky Way), SRZM, exploring the new window to the universe that opened with the development of radio frequency technology.
Since its earliest days the institute has sustained a world-leading reputation through innovative technological developments and high impact astronomical discoveries. In its recent 2017 Standard Evaluation Protocol (SEP) review, conducted by an international panel of experts, ASTRON received rankings of “1 = world leading” across the board.
ASTRON has its headquarters based in Dwingeloo with telescope facilities at Westerbork, the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) and the LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR) telescope. LOFAR consists of a core area near Exloo with a large, expanding network of antenna stations through the Netherlands and European partner countries. Today ASTRON employs about 180 personnel, including scientists, engineers and operations and support staff.