An anonymous reader writes: Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands formally opened LOFAR (Low Frequency Array), the world's largest radio telescope. The all-electronic 'next generation' telescope developed by ASTRON can now offer to astronomers the joint use of a network of antennae that spreads from its core region in the northeast of the Netherlands to distances of thousands of kilometers across Europe. LOFAR uses sophisticated computing and high speed internet to combine all the signals to survey the sky in great detail. The giant telescope will enable scientists to study how distant galaxies take shape, to find out when the early Universe was first lit up, to probe the properties of energetic cosmic particles, to map magnetised structures all across the sky, and to monitor the sun's activity as well as a wide range of variable and explosive celestial objects. It is a pathfinder for the development of a global telescope, the Square Kilometer Array (SKA).