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.
OPTICON Call for Proposals for semester 2016A
The OPTICON common TAC call for EU supported access to telescopes in semester 2016A has been opened. It will close at exactly 23:59 UT on Monday 31st August 2015. There is no prize for submitting at the last moment and late proposals will not be accepted. Note that little or no technical support will be available over the weekend, so please make your submission in plenty of time.
[more details here]
LT maintenance: mirrors realuminised and throughput doubled
The middle of June saw the Liverpool Telescope go offline for two and a half weeks, to successfully undertake important scheduled maintenance. The main item in the to-do list was to realuminise the telescope's primary and secondary mirrors. This difficult task was performed outstandingly, and the results were clear to see, in that the throughput of the telescope was doubled - i.e. twice as much light now enters the telescope's detectors as before.
When stars collide: LJMU team identifies rare luminous red nova in Andromeda
In January 2015 the discovery of a possible classical nova in the
Andromeda Galaxy (M31) was announced by the Global MASTER Robotic Network, a
Russian-led network of telescopes dedicated to time domain
astronomy. Classical novae are not particularly rare events, with
around 30 observed each year in M31 alone. However, as the LJMU team
of Steven Williams, Matt Darnley, Mike Bode and Iain
Steele were soon to realise, the object in M31 was a much more unusual
object. By following the outburst with the Liverpool Telescope's new
spectrometer SPRAT and its work-horse imager IO:O, Williams and co.
demonstrated that the outburst - dubbed M31LRN 2015 - was not a
classical nova, but was instead a luminous red nova (LRN), a much less
common class of stellar transient.
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. Although the deadline for abstract submissions has passed, the
meeting website is still open for registration. Further details are
available at the official NAM-2015
EWASS-2015 Special Session on robotic telescopes and instrumentation for time
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. STOP PRESS:
the schedule of talks is now available
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