The Liverpool Telescope is a 2.0 metre unmanned fully robotic telescope at the Observatorio del Roque de Los Muchachos on the Canary island of La Palma. It is owned and operated by Liverpool John Moores University, with financial support from STFC.

Volcanic eruption on La Palma

14th November: Update on the continuing volcano situation in La Palma.

Firstly we must express our sympathy to all those who have been displaced or lost their homes in the lava flow. La Palma is a small island, and many have been or will be affected by the tragedy.

We are fortunate that the region of the observatory is well away from the active lava zone. Volcanic ash did dust the site recently causing a temporary closure, but the observatory buildings were cleaned and we're back to observing whenever the plume doesn't blow towards the mountaintop.

We continue also to closely monitor forecast weather information provided by the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (Toulouse) which provides this data to the airline industry. We also receive forecasts from the Spanish AEMet service via our colleagues at IAC, which contribute to our decision making, as well as local on-site reports from our maintenance contractor. Updates on any significant change to the situation will appear here.

Latest News from the LT
Two Vacancies Available on New Robotic Telescope
11 Nov 2021

Two vacancies are now available on the New Robotic Telescope, for a DevOps Engineer and an Automation & Control Engineer. The closing date for applications for both posts is 8th December 2021. [more details]

Monitoring Maintenance in Geostationary Orbit
3 Nov 2021

For the first time, remote-controlled spacecraft have begun servicing communications and Earth observation satellites in geostationary orbit to extend the amount of time they can remain in service. [full story]

David Carter
24 May 2021

We are sad to report the death over the weekend of our friend and colleague Professor David Carter. Dave joined LJMU in 1996 as Project Scientist for the Liverpool Telescope and his determined efforts played a large part in keeping the project on track during a difficult construction phase. He was an outstanding scientist who always took a constructively sceptical approach to the prevailing consensus, and an excellent mentor to younger colleagues and students. [full story]

Walk around the LT site
25 Mar 2021

A virtual tour of the Liverpool Telescope site in La Palma is on this website at the Site Tour page. You can walk around the site, even into the telescope enclosure itself, and switch between day and night views. [full story]

Two new nova shells discovered
5 Mar 2021

The expanding debris shells from two separate novae that were seen to erupt decades ago have been discovered and characterised in a recent paper by Éamonn Harvey et al. The paper shows that new nova shells can be found from archive data and new limited multi-epoch followup data from small to medium-sized research telescopes. [full story]

Broad Insterstellar Absorption Band Discovered in Optical Region
17 Nov 2020

A broad absorption band in the interstellar medium has been discovered in the optical range. This is the first time a band of this type has been found in the visible part of the spectrum. The broad interstellar band (BIB) is centered close to 7700Å with a full width at half maximum of 177Å. It is significantly wider than the numerous diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) in the optical range that have widths of a few tens of angstroms at most. Full details are in the paper at Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, and a press release is here. [full story]

First detection of a double caustic crossing in a microlensed quasar
4 Jul 2020

Astronomers have detected for the first time a double caustic-crossing in a microlensed quasar. The collaborative project, between research teams in Russia, Spain, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, used the Liverpool Telescope and the 1.5m telescope at the Maidanak Observatory in Uzbekistan to conduct a 14-year monitoring campaign (2006-2019) of the gravitationally-lensed quasar known as the "Einstein Cross". [full story]

Nearby stars imaged in 3D
24 Jun 2020

Recent images taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft of nearby stars Wolf 359 and Proxima Centauri show obvious parallax much greater than observed from Earth orbit. Astronomers around the world were encouraged to image the stars at the same time as New Horizons and compare them to provide a first-ever demonstration of large and "pure" stellar parallaxes. [full story]

New Python module for submitting observations via RTML
15 Apr 2020

A new general purpose Python module for submitting observations to The Liverpool Telescope has been developed by Astrophysics Research Institute PhD student Kyle Medler. With this module, users can now submit observations to the telescope from automated Python scripts. This is an alternative to using ithe fully featured PhaseII user interface, and is suitable for the most common observation modes. [full story]

Mercury Mission Flyby of Earth
10 May 2020

Last month the spacecraft BepiColombo swung by Earth on its way to the planet Mercury. The LT was approached by the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), who provided several instruments for the mission, to observe BepiColombo while it was in the vicinity of the Earth. [full story]

Equatorial outflows in the black hole transient Swift J1357.2-0933
16 Dec 2019

Swift J1357.2-0933 is a black hole X-ray binary which shows transient behaviour, alternating long periods of quiescence with short (weeks long) and violent outbursts. These episodes are triggered by a sudden increase of mass accretion onto the black hole. The system was observed to go into outburst in 2017: the first such event since the outburst which led to its discovery in 2011. In a paper published recently in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Jimenez-Ibarra et al. report high time resolution follow-up of the 2017 outburst. [full story]

New Exposure Time Calculators
28 Nov 2019

New Exposure Time Calculators (ETCs) for the LT have been installed on the website at the Exposure Time Calculator page. Between the two ETCs (one for imaging, the other for spectroscopy), existing and prospective users can answer questions on what exposure times are necessary to achieve a required signal to noise ratio. Users can select any of the many instruments mounted on the LT and adjust their settings, as well as the effect of atmospheric turbulence ("seeing") and background sky brightness. [full story]

A Milestone Gamma Ray Burst Study: GRB190114C
26 Nov 2019

Liverpool John Moores University astrophysicists and the Liverpool Telescope contributed to a study published in Nature recently of a gamma-ray burst caused by the collapse of a massive star 5 billion light years away. Analysis of the minutes immediately after the burst reveals emission of photons a trillion times more energetic than visible light. “These are the highest energy photons ever seen from a gamma-ray burst,” stated Dr Daniel Perley, a senior lecturer at LJMU's Astrophysics Research Institute involved with the study. [full story]

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