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BlackGEM prototype being tested in Nijmegen

Submitter: Steven Bloemen
Description: The MeerLICHT telescope - prototype for the BlackGEM array - is currently being tested on-sky at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. The telescope was built by the NOVA Optical-Infrared Group at ASTRON.

The graph shows the signal-to-noise ratio as a function of the brightness (SDSS) of the source in a 1-minute integration, for the telescope's six different colour filters. A limiting magnitude of 20 was reached in a 1-minute exposure in the broad V+R band (dark grey points), with a 3.5 arcsec seeing and during full moon.

Extrapolating to the conditions at the La Silla Observatory - where BlackGEM will be installed to search for counterparts of gravitational wave sources - it was concluded that the telescope will reach its design specification to detect 23 mag stars in a five minute exposure!

Next month, the MeerLICHT telescope will be shipped to South Africa to be installed at SAAO's Sutherland observatory. It will always co-point with the MeerKAT Radio Array, to simultaneously search for transients and variable sources in optical and radio.

NOVA's final design review of the BlackGEM project takes place in Nijmegen on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 March.
Copyright: Paul Groot
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