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RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting on
Time Domain Astronomy with LT and LT2

Researchers in transient and time domain astronomy attended a Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) Specialist Discussion Meeting in London on Friday, 14 November, 2014. The discussion focused on astronomy and astrophysics with the Liverpool Telescope and Liverpool Telescope 2. The aims of the meeting were to showcase the many varied programmes that are active on the Liverpool Telescope, to stimulate new collaborations and ideas, and to engage with the community regarding our plans for the future.


The robotic 2m Liverpool Telescope, based on the Canary Island of La Palma, is owned and operated by Liverpool John Moores University, with operational support from STFC. It has a strong track record of service to the time domain community in the UK and beyond. The next decade will see time domain science becoming an increasingly prominent part of the astronomical agenda, and the LT will continue to be at the forefront, with large programmes exploiting new transient sources discovered with facilities such as iPTF, Gaia and LOFAR. Looking further into the future, the next generation of surveys such as LSST will revolutionise the study of the time variable sky, and facilities such as CTA will probe transient phenomena at previously unexplored wavelengths. New exoplanet finders, starting with NGTS and followed by the next generation of space missions, will improve on Kepler by discovering more planets with bright host stars in order to maximise the potential of ground based follow-up. In addition, the anticipated discoveries of electromagnetic counterparts to astrophysical gravitational wave and neutrino sources will open new windows on the transient universe. There will be a pressing need for follow-up facilities for scientific exploitation, in particular spectroscopic follow-up. With that in mind, plans are underway for Liverpool Telescope 2: a new 4-metre robotic telescope to be built on La Palma, with a world-leading response time for follow-up of the most rapidly variable objects.


  • 10:30 Introduction and welcome
  • 10:35 Liverpool Telescope status update - Chris Davis (LJMU) PDF
  • 10:45 Supernovae with the Liverpool Telescope - Mark Sullivan (Southampton) PDF
  • 11:05 New Frontiers in the Study of Gamma Ray Burst Physics - Drejc Kopac (LJMU) PDF
  • 11:25 LT photometric and spectroscopic observations, and abundance tomography modelling of the type Ia supernova SN 2014J - Chris Ashall (LJMU)
  • 11:40 From gamma-ray to radio: multi-wavelength follow-up within the first five minutes - Tim Staley (Oxford) PDF
  • 11:55 High-speed photometry of eclipsing white dwarf binaries - Madelon Bours (Warwick) PDF
  • 12:10 Characterising exoplanets with the Liverpool Telescope - David Anderson (Keele) PDF
  • 12:25 The National Schools' Observatory: Research in schools - Andy Newsam (LJMU) PDF
  • 12:40 Discussion - the next five years with LT

  • 13:00-14:00: Lunch break

  • 14:00 Liverpool Telescope 2 progress report - Chris Copperwheat (LJMU) PDF
  • 14:20 Invited talk: Electromagnetic Follow-up of Gravitational Wave Candidates - Darren White (Warwick) PDF
  • 14:40 The Transient Sky with Gaia and LT - Heather Campbell (Cambridge) PDF
  • 14:55 Slow Blue PanSTARRS Transients: what are they? - Chelsea MacLeod (Edinburgh) PDF
  • 15:10 Discussion - 2020 and beyond with LT2 PDF

  • 15:30 Close