The MeerLICHT telescope was inaugurated by the Director General of South Africa's Department of Science and Technology (Dr Phil Mjwara) on Africa Day 2018 [25 May]. It is ready to observe the southern skies and will join MeerKAT to scan the southern skies at optical and radio wavelength simultaneously, in search of the most energetic astrophysical events in the Universe.
Ready to observe the southern skies
Over the past months MeerLICHT has been performing many commissioning tests, including the transition to remote observing. The telescope is ready to start observing the southern skies.
MeerLICHT installation in Sutherland
On 7 July 2017, the MeerLICHT telescope arrived at the Sutherland station of the South African Astronomical Observatory. The telescope was lifted into the dome under perfect weather conditions.
The MeerLICHT telescope has been assembled for the first time at the Optical and Near-Infrared laboratory of ASTRON. Now it is time to test the alignment of the telescope’s optics and prepare for the first on-sky tests
The astrophysics group of the University of Oxford has joined the MeerLICHT project in September 2015. Central of Oxford’s involvement in MeerLICHT is Prof Fender and his research group working on radio transients. Prof Fender is also the co-principal investigator of the MeerKAT large survey project on radio transients, ThunderKAT, a project closely affiliated with MeerLICHT.
The MeerLICHT consortium agreement was signed on 28 November 2014 by the founding members of MeerLICHT, namely the University of Cape Town (represented by Prof Danie Visser, deputy vice chancellor for research and internationalisation), Radboud University Nijmegen (represented by Dr Mark Klein-Wolt, project manager of MeerLICHT), the South African Astronomical Observatory (represented by Prof Ted Williams, director), and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (represented by Dr Louis Vertegaal, director board for physical sciences)