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Home > Public Information Chronology of the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes

Chronology of the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes

Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope
1675 The Royal Observatory founded at Greenwich by King Charles II
19 Jan 1851 Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn born
1856 First astronomical observations in the Canary Islands by Charles Piazzi Smyth 
1922 Kapteyn publishes his first attemp at a Galaxy model derived from counts of stars
18 Jun 1922 Death of Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn
1948-1958 The Royal Observatory is moved from London to Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex, and renamed the Royal Greenwich Observatory
Jan Hermann Brück, Astronomer Royal for Scotland, first proposes the construction of a Northern Hemisphere Observatory (NHO) 
Jan Formal start of the project 'Northern Hemisphere Observatory (NHO)'. Sir Fred Hoyle takes the chair at the first meeting of the Northern Hemisphere Review Committee
Apr John Alexander of the Royal Greenwich Observatory visits La Palma
Aug Professor M.F. Walker of Lick Observatory, California includes La Palma in a list of oceanic islands that might be used as astronomical sites 
Summer and autumn JOSO site testers visit La Palma 
Nov  Flight over the mountain top in La Palma by JOSO (Joint Organization for Solar Observations) team
Dec John Alexander states: "The ideal solution may be an international observatory site on the island of La Palma." 
2 Jul First astronomical observations on Roque de Los Muchachos peak. They were carried out by a JOSO team consisting of G. Hosinsky, L. Staveland and H. Wöhl from Jul 2 to Jul 21
11 Jul First British astronomers arrive in La Palma
6 Aug First observations by the British site-testing team. These were carried out by Dr T. T. Gough and Mr C. M. Heath of the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh in Fuente Nueva, where the ING telescopes are erected today
May The NHO Planning Committee decides not to consider La Palma any more due to deep pessimism about the prospects for agreement on the use of La Palma site
Aug After high international activity, Spanish authorities issue an invitation to form a Joint Astronomical Site Survey to undertake an international programme of site testing on the Canary Islands
Nov The proposals for the present WHT, INT and JKT are accepted by the Science Research Council
25 Nov Site testing observations begin in Fuente Nueva
Dec Representatives of Denmark, Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom are invited by the Rector of the University of La Laguna and the Presidents of the local Governments (Cabildos) of Tenerife and La Palma to discuss arrangements for the survey programme. During a aircraft flight above the Roque de Los Muchachos peak, these representatives "[...] felt that this must be the site for the new observatory"
Nov Tests for night site observing are completed
Building of the JKT starts at Grubb Parsons
26 May Almost 10 years after the first committee met to consider a Northern Hemisphere Observatory, a treaty governing its establishment is signed. Spain agrees to let Denmark, Sweden, and Britain build on La Palma, in exchange for 20 percent of the observing time. The treaty is signed in the Cabildo of la Palma 
Completion of JKT at Grubb Parsons
Mar 1-m telescope installed at Herstmonceux for testing before shipment La Palma
18 Jun SERC-ZWO agreement signed. They agree to share all the parts of the projects, including the construction, operation and use of the telescopes, each providing manpower, capital and running costs in the ratio 4:1.
September First RGO staff come to live on La Palma
September First Dutch technician begins work at Herstmonceux under Anglo-Dutch collaborative programme
Jun Harrier jet from Royal Navy makes an emergency landing on the SS Alraigo, a cargo ship carrying the 1-m telescope base plate
September La Palma Observers' Guide issued
Oct 1-m telescope delivered to La Palma and erected
Nov First light through the Carlsberg Automatic Meridian Circle
23 Mar First photograph with the Wide-field Photographic Camera on the JKT. First light on the JKT.
Apr Patrick Moore films Sky at Night on La Palma
29 May First scheduled observing on JKT
Jun  Completion of road to Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory
29 Jun Royal Inauguration of the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma
Aug Opening of Residencia on Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory
September CCD camera commissioned at the f/15 Cassegrain focus of the Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope
31 OctThe Spanish Government approves the Sky Law
RGO moves to Cambridge
13 Mar The regulation of the Sky Law is approved by the Spanish Government
SN 1993J was the closest core-collapse supernova to have occurred this century and observable from the north. ING telescopes immediately set in motion an extensive programme of astrometric, photometric (UVBRI) and low- and high- dispersion spectroscopic monitoring. The INT spectrum of SN1993J obtained one day after the discovery was the first recorded anywhere at any wavelength. A public on-line archive consisting of optical photometric and spectroscopic data is offered to the community. Over 70 sites worldwide have availed themselves of this unique facility [more
NovThe Richardson-Brearley Spectrograph is retired. The JKT becomes a single-instrument telescope dedicated to CCD imaging.
APM 08279+5255: a quasar about 100 times brighter than the next brightest object that has ever been observed [more ]
31 Oct Closure of RGO.
September First sodium laser beacon at La Palma [more]
23 Jul Comet Linear blows up in full view of the JKT one billion light years of the Universe [more]
International review of ING [more]
7-11 May First scientific conference organised by ING [more]
20 Oct Science from La Palma - Past, Present and Future, a workshop organised by ING in honour of Dr Paul Murdin. [more]
27-31 May A Euroconference Organised by the ING: “Symbiotic Stars Probing Stellar Evolution”, La Palma, 27–31 May 2002 [more]
Aug RoboDIMM starts observing [more]
9-11 Jan NAOMI Workshop [more ]
6 May Signing of agreement with IAC to become a partner
26-30 May Satellites and Tidal Streams, an ING–IAC Joint Conference [more ]
31 Jul Shutdown of the JKT
9-11 May Adaptive-Optics Assisted Integral-Field Spectroscopy Workshop [more ]
6-10 Jun 2nd Meeting on Hot Subdwarf Stars and Related Objects Conference [more ]
14 Oct RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting on "Science from La Palma - Looking beyond 2009" [more ]
4 Apr Users' meeting at NAM 2006: Astronomy from La Palma: Developments and future directions
16-19 May Conference: The nature of V838 Monocerotis and its light echo [more]
10-16 Dec IAU Symposium 241: Stellar Populations as Building Blocks of Galaxies [more]
1 Apr The UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) replaces the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) as ING's owner.
18-22 Jun Conference: Asymmetrical Planetary Nebulae IV [more]
  First results from the H-alpha galaxy survey [more]
15 Jul New director for the ING [more]
29 Aug A stellar raffle [more]
Quantum Teleportation Experiment Sets a New Record [more]
22-23 March Workshop: La Palma and Calar Alto Observatories, Science in the Next Decade [more]
ING Science Strategy 2013 - 2022 [more]
15 Jan Ownership of the JKT is transferred to the IAC (Spain). The JKT becomes operated by the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA) under agreement with IAC [more]
21 Aug Report on instrumentation at the ING Telescopes [more]
2-6 Mar Conference: Multi-Object Spectroscopy in the Next Decade - Big Questions, Large Surveys and Wide Fields [more]
11 Jun Stephen Hawking Visits La Palma [more]
Signing of the Agreement for the Scientific Exploitation of the William Herschel and Isaac Newton Telescopes [more]

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Last modified: 29 October 2017