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UCLO Development Project

UCLO 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.

New Metre-Class Telescope

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 us.



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 for trial 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'.