University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Astrophysics Talks Series > The Large Robotic Telescope: a facility for the new era of time domain astronomy

The Large Robotic Telescope: a facility for the new era of time domain astronomy

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  • UserChris Copperwheat (LMJU)
  • ClockWednesday 23 November 2016, 14:30-15:30
  • HousePhysics West 117.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Sean McGee.

The Liverpool Telescope is a fully robotic, 2-metre class optical/infrared in operation on the Canary island of La Palma. The rapid response and flexibility of robotic telescopes make them ideal tools for study of the time variable sky. With the field of time domain astronomy set to be revolutionised by new discovery facilities such as LSST , plans are being made in Liverpool for a new robotic telescope to capitalise on this new era. This facility has the working title ‘Liverpool Telescope 2’ or the ‘Large Robotic Telescope’ and we aim to have it in operation on La Palma by ~2022. The core goal of the facility will be the follow-up of transients. The current generation of optical surveys have opened up a new era of transient astronomy, but at the same time have introduced a new problem: our discovery capability has dramatically outpaced our follow-up capacity, such that less than 10 per cent of new transients receive a spectroscopic classification, let alone any scientific exploitation. The follow-up gap is going to increase in size by orders of magnitude as we move into the LSST era. The same problem is inherent in the gravitational wave follow-up programme, the uncertainty in the sky position of any Advanced LIGO / Virgo detection is of the order of degrees. Surveying this error box is not the biggest problem in identifying an electromagnetic counterpart: the real challenge is distinguishing the counterpart from the many unrelated transient events in the region. The Large Robotic Telescope will be designed for the follow-up role: a fully robotic 4-metre telescope with a lightweight, fast-slewing design, providing a world-leading rapid response capability for efficient programmes of classification spectroscopy and the follow-up of fast-fading sources. In this talk I will detail the science case and provide an update on development of this new telescope.

This talk is part of the Astrophysics Talks Series series.

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