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.

Altitude axis drive motor failure - 1st December 2017:
The telescope is unavailable due to failure of the main altitude axis drive motor. Staff are travelling out from Liverpool to site to investigate and we will provide more information as soon as it is available. As you would guess, replacement of a drive motor is a substantial engineering task. Currently we expect the telescope to be offline until 12th December at the earliest.

We nearly got through the whole of 2017 without a major hardware failure. Prior to this, technical down time stood at 1.8%. We had been off sky for five individual nights in 2017 and no runs of multiple consecutive nights. This matches our typical pattern where the downtime is dominated by a very small number of significant faults, mainly driven by the time taken to travel to site. Nevertheless, we apologise for the inconvenience and will get the telescope back into operation as soon as we can.

Update 2017-12-08: The motor has been removed from the telescope and we have confirmed its complete failure. A temporary repair was attempted, but it was not enough put the telescope back into service. The motor will need to be replaced and we are currently investigating the time scale that will be required for that.

Update 2017-12-11: The new motor is installed and all the functional tests passed. We are now waiting for the rain to stop in order to test on sky.

Latest News from the LT
Interstellar visitor tracked with LT

The interstellar object currently exiting the Solar System has finally been named as ‘Oumuamua, Hawaiian for "reach out for" (‘Ou) and "very first/in advance of" (mua mua). Thus the name "reflects the way this object is like a scout or messenger sent from the distant past."

The LT was among the first wave of telescopes around the world to observe ‘Oumuamua thanks to quick action by one of its users. Data from all of the telescopes observing this object have revealed many interesting facts about this visitor from another star system. [full story]

Liverpool Telescope project shortlisted for Research Project of the Year

Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) is one of six institutions shortlisted for Research Project of the Year: STEM in this year's Times Higher Awards.

The nomination has been awarded for the use of the SPRAT spectrograph in the study of the unique recurrent nova M31N 2008-12a in the Andromeda Galaxy. SPRAT (SPectrograph for the Rapid Analysis of Transients) was designed and built in late 2014 by the LJMU telescope group. It uses volume phase holographic gratings to maximise efficiency and has proved to be a powerful tool for transient classification with minimal human intervention. [full story]

Spectacular pictures added to LT Picture Gallery

An album of over seventy spectacular pictures made from LT data has just been added to the LT Picture Gallery. The pictures were made by taking archived greyscale IO:O data that had been observed through effectively red, green and blue filters, and combining them in various ways to produce colour images. This skilful post-processing was performed by Swedish amateur astrophotographers Göran Nilsson and Wim van Berlo. [full story]

RISE model
New Filter for RISE

[UPDATE (26 July): The filter has now been changed] The RISE fast-readout camera is having its "V+R" filter replaced with a 720 nm long-pass filter on 26th July 2017. This is being done to enhance the capabilities of the camera with regard to measurement of exoplanet transits around late-type, red dwarf stars. More details can be found in the "Filter" section of the RISE instrument page.

pipe installation
Quicker Daily Data Flow and Weekend Data Releases

Changes to LT data handling procedures now mean that new science data are being distributed to observers between 09:30 and 10:30 UTC on the morning after they were observed, seven days a week. We hope this will further enhance the LT’s effectiveness for time domain astrophysics. See the full news article for discussion of how this will affect your research.

For additional news and events please visit our News Headlines page; for older stories see our News Archive.