ULO provides the premier teaching facilities in the UK for
observational astronomy, and we are committed to continuing to give
our students the best possible training so they are well placed to
become world-class astronomers and astrophysicists.
A current major project the acquisition of a large, modern
telescope with remote and robotic observing capabilities. Such an
instrument, with an aperture of order 1m, would significantly
increase and enrich the observing experience of our students,
allowing them to train on an instrument differing only in scale from
those found in the world's premier research
observatories. Fundraising for this
project by the UCL
Development Office is part of the Campaign for UCL;
we have currently reached about half the required finance.
Potential donors are warmly encouraged to contact
The design of the new telescope would
include an altazimuth mount and a tertiary mirror,
which would allow several instruments to be mounted
simultaneously, enabling changes to be made between (e.g.) an eyepiece,
a CCD camera, and a spectrograph, all at the touch of a button.
The image on the right shows a telescope similar to the planned design, a Halfmann
Teleskoptechnik 0.8m Alt-Az reflector.
Installing an instrument such as this would bring a number of
unique benefits. The robotic nature of the telescope would allow us
to take maximum advantage of clear weather, at any time of night. An
on-site weather station would detect suitable
conditions and automatically open the dome to observe an
appropriately planned list of targets (a facility we are developing
on our C14 telescopes). We would
therefore be able to expand our current science programmes to include comet and asteroid
searches, variable-star observations, nova and supernova monitoring,
and additional extrasolar planet studies, to name but a few
areas. Students will gain from controlling a robotic instrument
remotely, whilst seeing their actions occur 'live'.
University of London Observatory - 553 Watford Way - Mill Hill - London - NW7 2QS
University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT