Keeping the frequency bands used by European radio astronomers free of interference
The Committee on Radio Astronomy Frequencies (CRAF) is an Expert Committee hosted and administered by the European Science Foundation. Established in 1988, it represents all the major radio astronomical observatories in Europe.
The Committee’s mission is to coordinate activities to keep the frequency bands used by radio astronomers in Europe free from interference. CRAF works towards this task by:
- Promoting the policies and position of radio astronomy and space sciences in Europe in discussions with the major public and private telecommunications agencies.
- Acting as the European voice together with other groups of radio astronomers in discussions within the international bodies that decide on the use of radio spectrum.
- Initiating and encouraging scientific studies aimed at reducing radio astronomy interference at source and the effects of interference.
In addition, the Committee works on behalf of IRAM (Institut de Radio Astronomie Millimétrique) and IVS (International VLBI Service for Geodesy and Astrometry), which use radio astronomy bands for their scientific research.
The Committee also assists EISCAT (the European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association), whose passive experiment using radar equipment in the polar ionosphere faces severe interference problems.
Membership, Structure, and Funders
The Committee is chaired by Dr. Benjamin Winkel (Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Germany)
At present, CRAF has 26 members from 23 countries from Europe and South Africa. The membership list is available on the CRAF Website
CRAF is funded by the following Member Institutions:
- CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE (CNRS), France
- SWISS COMMISSION FOR ASTRONOMY (SCFA) OF THE SWISS ACADEMY OF SCIENCES (SCNAT) – Switzerland
- HARTEBEESTHOEOK RADIO ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORY (HartRAO), South Africa
- ISTITUTO NAZIONALE DI ASTROFISICA (INAF), Italy
- MAX-PLANCK-INSTITUT FUR RADIOASTRONOMIE (MPIfR), Germany
- NETHERLANDS INSTITUTE FOR RADIO ASTRONOMY (ASTRON), Netherlands
- OBSERVATOIRE ROYAL DE BELGIQUE (OMA), Belgium
- ONSALA SPACE OBSERVATORY (OSO), Sweden
- SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FACILITIES COUNCIL (STFC), United Kingdom
- SUOMEN AKATEMIA/FINLANDS AKADEMI (AKA), Finland
The current activities of CRAF can be found here.