27 July 2016 MeerLICHT and BlackGEM: custom-built telescopes to detect faint optical transients
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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.
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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, "MeerLICHT and BlackGEM: custom-built telescopes to detect faint optical transients", Proc. SPIE 9906, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes VI, 990664 (27 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2232522; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2232522
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