Onsala Space Observatory

The Swedish National Facility for Radio Astronomy

Onsala Space Observatory (OSO), the Swedish National Facility for Radio Astronomy, provides scientists with equipment to study the Earth and the rest of the Universe. We operate several radio telescopes in Onsala, 45 km south of Göteborg, and take part in international projects. The observatory is a geodetic fundamental station. Examples of facilities and activities:

  • The 20 and 25 m telescopes in Onsala: Studies of the birth and death of stars, and of molecules in the Milky Way and other galaxies. 
  • The LOFAR station in Onsala: One part of an international network of antennas for studies of, e.g., the early history of the Universe. 
  • VLBI: Telescopes in different countries are linked together for better resolution ("sharper images") and for measurements of the Earth.
  • SKA: Developing technology for the world's largest radio telescope.
  • APEX: Radio telescope in Chile for sub-millimetre waves. Research about everything from planets to the structure of the Universe.
  • ALMA: Using and developing the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile.
  • Space geodesy: Radio telescopes (VLBI), satellites (e.g., GPS), gravimeters  and tide gauges are used to measure, e.g., Earth's rotation, movements in Earth's crust, sea level, and water vapour in the atmosphere. 
  • Time keeping: Two hydrogen maser clocks and one cesium clock contribute to establishing the official Swedish time and international time.
  • SALSA: Small radio telescopes in Onsala for educational purposes.
  • Receiver development: Laboratories for development of sensitive radio receivers.

Onsala Space Observatory is hosted by Department of Earth and Space Sciences at Chalmers University of Technology, and is operated on behalf of the Swedish Research Council. There are particularly strong links to the Department's research groups in Advanced receiver development, Radio astronomy and astrophysics, Space geodesy and geodynamics, and Global environmental measurements and modelling.

The observatory was founded in 1949 by professor Olof Rydbeck.  


Professor John Conway, email: john.conway@chalmers.se, phone: +46 31 772 5503 

Steering committee

Kjell Möller, chairman
Gunilla Borgefors, Uppsala University
Claes Fransson, Stockholm University
Mats Larsson, Stockholm University
Floriana Lombardi, Chalmers University of Technology
Carole Mundell, University of Bath
Björn Ragnvald Pettersen, Norwegian University of Life Sciences

In addition, John Conway, director of Onsala Space Observatory, participates in the Steering Committee meetings. Secretary is Magnus Thomasson, Onsala Space Observatory.

Published: Tue 20 Aug 2013. Modified: Thu 07 Apr 2016