World's largest robotic telescope ready to track NEAs
NEO Information Centre
August 18, 2003

The telescope designed, constructed and
commissioned by Telescope Technologies Ltd., a
subsidiary company of JMU, observes
autonomously from its site on La Palma in the
Canary Islands.The Liverpool Telescope's unique
capabilities of flexible scheduling and rapid
response will put the UK at the forefront of
exciting new fields of research in time dependant
astrophysics. "This enables us to study such
phenomena as supernovae and Gamma Ray
Bursts, the biggest explosions in space," said
Professor David Carter of the ARI. 

The telescope's other great strength is its ability
to make regular observations of objects that vary
over periods from seconds to years. With current
astronomical facilities this is very difficult,
whereas the new telescope will track newly
discovered objects such as comets or Near Earth
Asteroids (NEAs), allowing accurate
calculations of their paths and potential hazards. 

The telescope is supported by the Particle
Physics and Astronomy Research Council
(PPARC), making 40% of the observing time
available to astronomers throughout the UK. A
further 5% of the time has been donated by JMU
to the National Schools' Observatory (NSO)
programme. "School children can now work on
their own projects alongside professional
astronomers," said Dr. Andy Newsam (NSO
astronomer). This is the first time regular access
has been granted to schools for world-class
research telescopes. 

The telescope is sited at the Observatorio del
Roque de los Muchachos which is operated on
the island of La Palma by the Instituto de
Astrofisica de Canarias.

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