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.
Realuminising and other maintenance at the LT
Late September saw the LT taken offline to realuminise the primary mirror and undertake other essential maintenance. Realuminising the primary is a massive undertaking but it went swimmingly, and throughput of the telescope improved by over 40%. Manoeuvering the fragile 1.3 tonne, 2-metre diameter mirror to and from the aluminising plant at the William Herschel Telescope (WHT) was performed with skill and aplomb by LT staff, personnel from IAC and WHT, and the specialists contracted locally on La Palma. [full story]
LT helps discover huge nova "super-remnant" in another galaxy
An international team of astrophysicists have uncovered an enormous bubble currently being "blown" by the regular eruptions from a binary star system within the Andromeda Galaxy.
As reported in this week's Nature, recent observations with the Liverpool Telescope and Hubble Space Telescope, supported by spectroscopy from the Gran Telescopio Canarias, and the Hobby-Eberly Telescope (some of the largest astronomy facilities on Earth) discovered this enormous shell-like nebula surrounding ‘M31N 2008-12a’, a recurrent novae located in our neighbouring Andromeda Galaxy. At almost 400 lightyears across and still growing, this shell is far bigger than a typical nova remnant (usually around a lightyear in size) and even larger than most supernova remnants.
New Robotic Telescope website launched
We have recently launched a new website for the Liverpool Telescope 2 or "New Robotic Telescope (NRT)" project. The webpages at www.robotictelescope.org detail the science case, NRT team and latest news items in relation to the new telescope. The NRT team are currently preparing the Phase A design of the new 4-metre fully robotic and autonomous telescope, ready for a design board review in the Spring. The NRT will slew faster than the LT and be on target taking data within 30 seconds of trigger, allowing us to explore more rapidly fading targets. [full story]
First observations in mid-infrared
The Liverpool Telescope recently made mid-infrared images of the Moon during January's lunar eclipse. This was a first for the LT, which normally observes in the optical or near-infrared part of the spectrum. The observations were made as part of an experiment to see what data could be collected with an off-the-shelf uncooled thermal infrared microbolometer array camera sensitive to the 7-14 micron wavelength range. These cameras are much cheaper than their cooled counterparts. Maisie Rashman, co-investigator in this experiment and a PhD student at Liverpool John Moores University's Astrophysics Research Institute, said "Once partial eclipse started we were able to see lots of small very bright, almost point, sources appear." [full story]