The LT draws in the crowds at StarGazing Live 2015
Jon Marchant of the Liverpool Telescope group was joined by
Astrophysics Research Institute astronomers Matt Darnley and Simon
Prentice at this year's StarGazing Live event in Leicester.
Hosted by the BBC, the event coincided with a spectacular partial
solar eclipse witnessed by millions of people in the UK and across Europe.
The day was split into a morning session of eclipse watching, followed
by an evening of star-gazing from the Racecourse at Leicester and the
fields surrounding Jodrell Bank. Although the eclipse's path of
totality missed mainland Britain, those watching were still able to
enjoy a deep partial eclipse, with 85-95% of the Sun's diameter being
covered by the Moon, depending on the viewer's location in the UK.
Time domain astronomy at NAM-2015
The LT Group and Astrophysics Research Institute, Liverpool John
Moores University have once again organised two sessions at the U.K.'s
National Astronomy Meeting. Hosted by the Royal Astronomical Society, NAM-2015
will be held at Venue Cymru in Llandudno, North Wales. As part
of the week-long festivities, two 90 minute sessions are being
organised which will focus on time domain astronomy with robotic
telescopes. These sessions will be held on Thursday, 9 July, at 9
am and 1.30 pm. The meeting website is now open for registration
and the deadline for submission of abstracts by prospective oral or
poster presenters is 1 April, 2015. Further details are available
at the official NAM-2015
PATT Call for Proposals for semester 15B
The PATT Call for Proposals for semester 15B (1 July 2015-28 Feb 2016)
has been released and is available here.
The deadline for receipt of proposals is Thursday, April 2nd at 4pm
UT. The internal call for JMU proposals will be circulated among
staff separately. Questions, comments or problems with your
submission: please don't hesitate to contact Phase 1
EWASS 2015 Special Session on robotic telescopes and instrumentation for time
The upcoming European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS) will
include a Special Session, led by LT staff, entitled Robotic
Telescopes and Instrumentation for Time Domain Astronomy. EWASS
2015 is organised by the European Astronomical Society and will be
held in Tenerife, Spain, from June 22 to 26, 2015. The aim of the
session is to address how current and future robotic facilities meet
the scientific needs of the European time domain community. The
session will feature talks on scientific results as well as new and
existing robotic facilities and instrumentation covering all areas
of time domain astronomy. A discussion of the technical and software
challenges of robotic response will also be encouraged.
Black hole caught having a snack
We don't as yet know very much about black holes, but one thing we
do know is that it's not a good idea to get too close to one of
them! Their powerful gravitational pull can rip apart anything that
passes nearby. Yet a star may have survived such a close encounter,
an encounter that was recently observed by Dr David Bersier of LJMU's
Astrophysics Research Institute and his colleagues using the Liverpool
Rapid SPRAT confirmation of a Gaia transient: it's a dwarf nova!
One of the secondary goals of the Gaia Space Telescope is to survey
the whole sky for variables and transients, objects that suddenly
increase in brightness. The Gaia Photometric Science Alerts programme
hosted by Cambridge University in the U.K. has recently gone public,
and one of the first alerts released has been robotically observed by
the Liverpool Telescope. As part of a campaign of rapid follow-up
observations with the newly-commissioned SPRAT spectrograph, a group
of LJMU astronomers have just released the first Astronomer's
Telegram based on a Gaia transient alert.
LT discovers the sixth eruption of a remarkable Recurrent Nova in M31
The LT has in recent weeks been doing what it does best: making
exciting discoveries in time domain astronomy! A team led by Dr Matt
Darnley of the Astrophysics Research Institute at LJMU has detected
the latest eruption of a remarkable Recurrent Nova (RN) in the nearby
galaxy M31. This object is particularly noteworthy because of the
frequency of its eruptions. Most RNe undergo an outburst once every
10-100 years; the RN in M31 seems to erupt annually.
Darnley and his team were the first to spot the latest eruption
of the nova and, thanks to the LT's robotic capabilities, have been
able to monitor the event with images and spectra obtained every few
hours/days over a period of a few weeks. They have certainly not let the
grass grow under their feet, having made full use of the
recently-commissioned optical spectrograph, SPRAT.