The MeerLICHT/MeerKAT optical-radio synoptic survey

Professor Paul Groot from Radboud University will present the NASSP colloquium with a talk entitled, "The MeerLICHT/MeerKAT optical-radio synoptic survey".

Time-domain astronomy is taking big strides in uncovering the variable and transient universe, but is, almost always, still based on single electromagnetic bands (optical, radio, X-rays etc.). With the upcoming MeerKAT + MeerLICHT combination we will be breaking this barrier by creating the first-ever multi-band, 'always-on’, optical-radio synoptic survey, where the MeerLICHT optical telescope will follow the MeerKAT radio array in its pointing on the sky. The MeerLICHT telescope is the prototype of the BlackGEM array, and consists of a single telescope with a 65cm primary mirror, a 2.7 square degree field-of-view, sampled at 0.65"/pixel with a single, huge, 10.5k x 10.5k CCD detector. The MeerLICHT telescope is now being tested at Radboud University and will be shipped to Sutherland in mid-May, for start of operations in July 2017. 

Paul Groot is professor of astronomy at Radboud University, located in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. He obtained his PhD in 1999 cum laude at the University of Amsterdam, among others on the first detection of optical afterglows from gamma-ray bursts. After a stay at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics as a CfA fellow he returned to the Netherlands in 2002 to co-found the new Department of Astrophysics at Radboud University. He served as chair of the Department from 2006 - 2016 and as chair of the Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA) from 2012 - 2016. In this role he played a very active role in setting the research and instrumentation strategy for Dutch astronomy. His research is focused on compact binary systems, transients in the Universe and gravitational wave astrophysics. He has a keen interest in astronomical instrumentation, among others as Project Scientist on ESO's VLT X-Shooter spectrograph and Principal Investigator on both the MeerLICHT telescope and the BlackGEM array. He is the co-recipient of the 2002 EU Descartes Prize, the 2016 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics and the 2016 Gruber Prize in Cosmology.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 12:00

Astronomy Seminar Room, 5th Floor RW James Building, University Avenue, Upper Campus, UCT