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Proceedings Paper

MeerLICHT and BlackGEM: custom-built telescopes to detect faint optical transients
Author(s): Steven Bloemen; Paul Groot; Patrick Woudt; Marc Klein Wolt; Vanessa McBride; Gijs Nelemans; Elmar Körding; Margaretha L. Pretorius; Ronald Roelfsema; Felix Bettonvil; Harry Balster; Roy Bakker; Peter Dolron; Arjen van Elteren; Eddy Elswijk; Arno Engels; Rob Fender; Marc Fokker; Menno de Haan; Klaas Hagoort; Jasper de Hoog; Rik ter Horst; Giel van der Kevie; Stanisław Kozłowski; Jan Kragt; Grzegorz Lech; Rudolf Le Poole; Dirk Lesman; Johan Morren; Ramon Navarro; Willem-Jelle Paalberends; Kerry Paterson; Rafal Pawłaszek; Wim Pessemier; Gert Raskin; Harrie Rutten; Bart Scheers; Menno Schuil; Piotr W. Sybilski
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Paper Abstract

We present the MeerLICHT and BlackGEM telescopes, which are wide-field optical telescopes that are currently being built to study transient phenomena, gravitational wave counterparts and variable stars. The telescopes have 65 cm primary mirrors and a 2.7 square degree field-of-view. The MeerLICHT and BlackGEM projects have different science goals, but will use identical telescopes. The first telescope, MeerLICHT, will be commissioned at Sutherland (South Africa) in the first quarter of 2017. It will co-point with MeerKAT to collect optical data commensurate with the radio observations. After careful analysis of MeerLICHT's performance, three telescopes of the same type will be commissioned in La Silla (Chile) in 2018 to form phase I of the BlackGEM array. BlackGEM aims at detecting and characterizing optical counterparts of gravitational wave events detected by Advanced LIGO and Virgo. In this contribution we present an overview of the science goals, the design and the status of the two projects.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 July 2016
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 9906, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes VI, 990664 (27 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2232522
Show Author Affiliations
Steven Bloemen, Radboud Univ. Nijmegen (Netherlands)
Paul Groot, Radboud Univ. Nijmegen (Netherlands)
Patrick Woudt, Univ. of Cape Town (South Africa)
Marc Klein Wolt, Radboud Univ. Nijmegen (Netherlands)
Vanessa McBride, Univ. of Cape Town (South Africa)
South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
Gijs Nelemans, Radboud Univ. Nijmegen (Netherlands)
Elmar Körding, Radboud Univ. Nijmegen (Netherlands)
Margaretha L. Pretorius, Univ. of Oxford (United Kingdom)
Ronald Roelfsema, NOVA Optical Infrared Instrumentation Group (Netherlands)
Felix Bettonvil, NOVA Optical Infrared Instrumentation Group (Netherlands)
Harry Balster, Radboud Univ. Nijmegen (Netherlands)
Roy Bakker, Radboud Univ. Nijmegen (Netherlands)
Peter Dolron, Radboud Univ. Nijmegen (Netherlands)
Arjen van Elteren, Leiden Observatory (Netherlands)
Eddy Elswijk, NOVA Optical InfraRed Instrumentation Group (Netherlands)
Arno Engels, Radboud Univ. Nijmegen (Netherlands)
Rob Fender, Univ. of Oxford (United Kingdom)
Marc Fokker, Radboud Univ. Nijmegen (Netherlands)
Menno de Haan, NOVA Optical Infrared Instrumentation Group (Netherlands)
Klaas Hagoort, Airborne Composites B.V. (Netherlands)
Jasper de Hoog, Airborne Composites B.V. (Netherlands)
Rik ter Horst, NOVA Optical Infrared Instrumentation Group (Netherlands)
Giel van der Kevie, Airborne Composites B.V. (Netherlands)
Stanisław Kozłowski, Cilium Engineering (Poland)
Jan Kragt, NOVA Optical Infrared Instrumentation Group (Netherlands)
Grzegorz Lech, Sybilla Technologies (Poland)
Rudolf Le Poole, Leiden Observatory (Netherlands)
Dirk Lesman, NOVA Optical Infrared Instrumentation Group (Netherlands)
Johan Morren, KU Leuven (Belgium)
Ramon Navarro, NOVA Optical Infrared Instrumentation Group (Netherlands)
Willem-Jelle Paalberends, Airborne Composites B.V. (Netherlands)
Kerry Paterson, Univ. of Cape Town (South Africa)
Rafal Pawłaszek, Sybilla Technologies (Poland)
Wim Pessemier, KU Leuven (Belgium)
Gert Raskin, KU Leuven (Belgium)
Harrie Rutten, Castor Optical Design (Netherlands)
Bart Scheers, Ctr. voor Wiskunde en Informatica (Netherlands)
Menno Schuil, NOVA Optical Infrared Instrumentation Group (Netherlands)
Piotr W. Sybilski, Sybilla Technologies (Poland)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9906:
Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes VI
Helen J. Hall; Roberto Gilmozzi; Heather K. Marshall, Editor(s)

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