year in review 2018 Paperturn - Page 138



A NEW WINDOW
ON THE UNIVERSE
UCT is part of a consortium that in May 2018 launched the fully customised
0.65 m MeerLICHT optical telescope, which will be paired with the MeerKAT
radio array when it starts its science operations. Together, MeerLICHT and
MeerKAT will provide a new and improved window on the universe.
detector, through UCT, prompting his
partners from Radboud University
Nijmegen in the Netherlands to
commit to funding the design and
construction of the telescope.
The MeerLICHT prototype was
built in the Netherlands and brought
over to South Africa in July 2017. The
telescope is housed at the South
African Astronomical Observatory
(SAAO) at Sutherland.
Designing a new telescope is
About seven years ago, Professor
Patrick Woudt and a colleague
discussed how best they could
follow up on discoveries picked up
in data from radio telescopes. The
answer was to build their own optical
telescope fully dedicated to doing
that, even though pairing an optical
telescope to a radio array was an
entirely novel concept.
Woudt applied to purchase
the core piece of technology, the
“WE ARE IN AN ERA OF
ASTRONOMY WHERE
WE ARE DEALING
WITH VERY LARGE
DATA VOLUMES.”
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