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...
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...
14A Call for Observing Proposals
1500 GMT 6 September 2013
The Liverpool Telescope released its Call for
Observing Proposals for semester 14A in early September. The deadline for submission
of proposals to the STFC Panel for the Allocation of Telescope Time
(PATT) was Friday, 4th October, 2013 at 4pm GMT. The same deadline
applied to the submission of proposals to the internal JMU TAG by JMU
staff. BOTH CALLS ARE NOW CLOSED. Please see the Phase 1
page for further details (and for links to future calls).
UPDATE: 14A PATT, CAT and JMU allocations now available!
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
Liverpool Telescope celebrates 10 years at
the forefront of Time Domain Astronomy
1500 BST 26 July 2013
On 21st July, 2013, the Liverpool Telescope celebrated the 10th
anniversary of Engineering First Light with a solid
night of robotic operations. The skies were clear, the "seeing" (image
sharpness) was fair, and the near-full moon rose majestically from the
east at about 9pm, local time. Four different instruments (
were used to observe Exoplanets, T Tauri stars, Novae,
Supernovae, Gamma Ray Bursts, and Blazars. In all, data for
nine different research projects were obtained...
Liverpool Telescope plans double-sized successor
1300 BST 07 July 2013
Planning is underway for a successor to the world's largest fully robotic
telescope, the Liverpool Telescope. The "LT" is a 2-metre optical telescope
located on La Palma that has been in operation since 2004. It has become a
leading astronomical facility through its ability to react quickly to
observe newly discovered or transient events in the universe, such as the
cataclysmic explosions known as Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs). It has also been
used by more than 2000 schools as part of a thriving outreach programme.
Now, the scientific community is being consulted on the facility's
Reactive Time proposals now being accepted from Spanish PIs
1500 GMT 16 May 2013
The Liverpool Telescope is now accepting Reactive
Time Proposals from research groups based in Spain.
Spanish and UK-based PIs may now apply at any time of the
year for a few hours of telescope time to: (i) conduct feasibility
studies for future 'full' proposals, (ii) respond to newly-discovered
targets-of-opportunity, or (iii) to propose observations in support of
new projects that have just been allocated time on other telescopes.
Full details and access to the web-based proposal form are available