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.

FRODOspec offline: The protective conduit around the FRODOspec fibre bundle has recently been damaged. The instrument is currently offline and is unlikely to be available until early August. Users are encouraged to contact us with any concerns they may have.

Latest News
OPTICON Call for Proposals 2015A
1500 GMT 28 July 2014

The call for observing time supported by the OPTICON Trans-National Access programme is now open. It will close at exactly 23:59 UT on 31 August 2014. The current call covers semester 15A (February - July 2015). Proposals must meet certain EU and OPTICON rules for formal eligibility concerning team membership. Broadly speaking, the PI and at least half of the Co-Is must be working at institutions from EU member states or EU associated countries that are outside the country/ies which own the telescope (in this case, the UK). The maximum amount of time available at the LT is 50 hours; this time may be shared between projects or allocated to a single proposal. IO:O, RINGO3, RISE and FRODOspec are expected to be available. Please contact us if you have any questions, and note that proposals must be prepared and submitted using the OPTICON application procedure.

LightCurve
Rapid-response monitoring of a "nearby monster"
1500 GMT 17 June 2014

On April 27, 2013 many of the world's astronomers observed the brightest Gamma-Ray Burst (GRB) ever detected by the Swift satellite. Named GRB 130427A, it was one of the most energetic nearby events ever encountered. At a redshift of z = 0.3399, which corresponds to a distance of only 3.6 billion light years, GRB 130427A was a truly unique and extraordinary "nearby monster".

GRBs trace the most energetic explosions in the Universe. Some are believed to occur after the merger of two compact objects - a pair of neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole. Others may be caused by the collapse of a rapidly-rotating massive star. The former are classified as short-GRBs, due to the very limited durations of their gamma-ray emission (less than a few seconds). The latter are classified as long-GRBs, since the mean duration of their "prompt emission" phase lasts longer than a few tens of seconds...
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NAM2014
Bumps, Burps and Bangs hit this year's National Astronomy Meeting in Portsmouth
1100 GMT 9 May 2014

The Liverpool Telescope team will once again be leading a session on Time Domain Astronomy at this year's U.K. National Astronomy Meeting. Entitled Bumps, Burps and Bangs - Transient and Time Domain Astronomy in the U.K., the two-block session has attracted the attention of researchers in the field from across the U.K. In all, 23 abstracts were submitted spanning topics in galactic, extra-galactic and solar system astrophysics. The schedule of oral presentations and a list of posters to be presented is now available...
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SLSN
LT used to follow the brightest supernovae
0900 GMT 8 May 2014

Astronomers lead by a team from Queen's University Belfast have recently published new observations which help to constrain the power sources of "super-luminous" supernovae, the brightest known explosions in the Universe! Their findings have recently been published in the journal Nature. Super-luminous supernovae are 10-100 times brighter than normal supernovae, but are extremely rare. Scientists have proposed several theories as to why these unusual events emit so much light. The observations presented by the QUB group go some way towards distinguishing between these models, and help astronomers better understand these enigmatic objects...
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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...
[full story]