L.J.M. Houben (Leon)

PhD candidate - Astrophysics

L.J.M. Houben (Leon)
Visiting address

Heyendaalseweg 135
Internal postal code: 62

Postal address

Postbus 9010

Since the detection of the Lorimer burst in 2007, astronomers have learned that, on short time scales, our radio sky is far from static. With radio telescopes around the world, ultra-bright short-duration radio flashes are observed so frequently that they are estimated to occur more than one thousand times a day. Even so, we do not know what produces them.

A lot of time and effort is therefore spend on characterising these so called “Fast Radio Bursts” (FRBs). Learning more about their properties might give us a clue to their origin. However, so far, the phenomenon has only become more shrouded in mystery with our deepened knowledge about them.

A mystery Leon Houben, among many other radio astronomers, tries to solve. Therefore, he co-created a VOEvent standard for the field. This standard eases the communication between telescopes, so observatories can follow-up new FRB detections swiftly and efficiently.

Using this standard to perform joint observations with the Effelsberg 100-m Radio Telescope and LOFAR, he put constraints on the low frequency spectrum of the first detected repeating FRB. During this venture, a new parameter was envisioned, the statistical spectral index, which might yield more insight in the emission mechanism of these sources.

Currently, he analyses a vast amount of archival data from Effelsberg. In this data he hopes to find all kinds of single pulsed emission. To be able to analyse this data and increase his chances of finding interesting results, he developed new software published on his Gitlab account. Software he deploys in a custom search pipeline, resulting in new findings that have yet to be published.

Research theme
  • Fast Radio Bursts


Ancillary activities