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.

Latest News
BE-Black Hole binary
LT used to monitor a remarkable recurrent nova in M31
1200 GMT 28 January 2014

In late 2013 another outburst of a rather unusual "recurrent nova (RN)" in the Andromeda galaxy, M31, was announced by the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF). Novae are thought to be associated with binary systems which undergo a sudden brightening as material from an evolved secondary star falls (or "accretes") onto a compact primary star, usually a white dwarf. The accreting material ignites via nuclear fusion producing a sudden burst of radiation. Recurrent novae are - as the name suggests - objects which undergo multiple outbursts.

Like other RN, the object in M31, dubbed M31N 2008-12a, has been observed in outburst a number of times in the past. What makes this particular object interesting is its very short "recurrence timescale", i.e. the time between outbursts. M31N 2008-12a outbursts have been recorded almost annually since late 2008, when the object was first identified as a nova. Previously the most frequent RN was the Galactic system U Scorpii, which has a ~10 year inter-outburst time, making M31N 2008-12a all the more remarkable...
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BE-Black Hole binary
Black Hole discovered orbiting a Spinning Star
1200 GMT 20 January 2014

A group of Spanish astronomers using the Liverpool and Mercator Telescopes at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos have recently reported the discovery of a binary star system comprising a Be-type star and, remarkably, a black hole. Jorge Casares of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) and La Laguna University (ULL) is lead author on a paper, recently published in the science journal Nature, in which he and his colleagues present their exciting results. Be-type stars are known to be fast rotators, and many find themselves to be one-half of an interacting binary system. However, their companions are usually neutron stars. This is the first time that the object orbiting the Be star has been identified as a black hole...
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LT's GAIA tracking featured on the BBC's Northwest Tonight news show
1300 GMT 13 January 2014

As part of the BBC's Stargazing Live 2014 series of events, the Liverpool Telescope featured recently on the Northwest Tonight news programme. LT staff and scientists from the Astrophysics Research Institute at Liverpool John Moores University explained how the telescope is being used to track the recently-launched GAIA satellite...
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RINGO2 Used to Probe Early Evolution of Gamma Ray Bursts
1100 GMT 12 December 2013

A team led by Professors Carole Mundell and Iain Steele of Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) is making great strides in understanding the enigmatic jets produced by massive stars in distant galaxies. These jets slam into gas and dust surrounding the system, producing a sudden burst of energy which, when directed towards the earth, is identified as a surge in gamma-ray emission. This surge is usually spotted first by NASA's SWIFT satellite, which immediately alerts astronomers on the ground who can then pursue rapid follow-up observations with other telescopes. Together with her team, Prof. Mundell has made use of a custom designed LT instrument, RINGO2, to measure and, importantly, monitor the polarisation of the optical emission from these events...
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Comet Chasing with the BBC
1100 GMT 12 December 2013

Keen astronomers will no doubt have noticed that the Liverpool Telescope recently featured in an episode of the BBC's Sky at Night programme. The TV crew spent a few days at both the LT and the Isaac Newton Telescope, where images and spectroscopy of Comet C/2012 S1 ISON, the so-called "Comet of the Century", were obtained. Prof. Mike Bode and Dr Jon Marchant welcomed the TV crew and a group of amateurs and professional astronomers to the LT. Mike and Jon spent a long though fruitful night observing (a rarity for the LT, which of course is fully robotic and therefore usually operates without human intervention). The BBC team, meanwhile, went about their business, and managed to get some great footage of the observatory, including some wonderful time-lapse photography of the telescope in action...
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LT spectra confirm the nature of the naked-eye brightness Nova Delphini 2013
1400 BST 19 August 2013

At 2pm (UTC/GMT) on Wednesday 14th August 2013 the astronomer Koichi Itagaki, based in Yamagata, Japan, reported the discovery of a possible erupting nova in the constellation of Delphinus (the Dolphin). The report was of a "new" star at magnitude 6.3 (almost naked-eye brightness), whereas the previous day there was no object visible at this location (down to a limiting magnitude of 13th).

Following these reports, a team of astronomers at LJMU's Astrophysics Research Institute (Dr Matt Darnley, Prof Mike Bode and Dr Rob Smith) and a close collaborator at Keele University (Prof Nye Evans) requested spectroscopic observations of the system from the 2m robotic Liverpool Telescope. The immediate purpose of these observations was to confirm the classical nova nature of this object as early as possible to enable numerous follow-up programmes on other facilities to begin...
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