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Home > Public Information > Public Releases > Professor Vikram Dhillon is Awarded the 2013 RAS Jackson-Gwilt Medal for the Development and Operation of ULTRACAM
ING web news release
13 Feb, 2013

Professor Vikram Dhillon is Awarded the 2013 RAS Jackson-Gwilt Medal for the Development and Operation of ULTRACAM

ULTRACAM is an ultra-fast, triple-beam CCD camera designed to study astrophysics on the fastest timescales. The instrument was built by a consortium involving the Universities of Sheffield (Vik Dhillon), Warwick (Tom Marsh) and the UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh. It saw first light on the 4.2-m William Herschel Telescope (WHT) on La Palma in 2002, and first light on the Visitor Focus of the 8.2-m Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile in 2005, becoming both the first instrument to make use of this VLT focus and the first UK instrument to be used at the VLT. In 2010, ULTRACAM was also commissioned on the 3.5-m New Technology Telescope (NTT) in Chile.

The large quantity of observing time awarded to ULTRACAM (totalling one year of nights over the last decade) on some of the world's largest telescopes is testament to the competitiveness of the science performed with the instrument, which includes the study of white dwarfs, brown dwarfs, pulsars, black-hole/neutron-star X-ray binaries, gamma-ray bursts, extrasolar planets, cataclysmic variables, eclipsing binary stars, flare stars, ultra-compact binaries, asteroseismology and occultations by Solar System objects. Over 60 refereed publications in major journals have resulted from the use of ULTRACAM, including two papers in Science and one in Nature, with many more in preparation. A detailed description of the instrument is given by Dhillon et al. (2007, MNRAS, 378, 825).

ULTRACAM on the William Herschel Telescope [ JPEG ].

Approximately coinciding with the 10th anniversary of first light with ULTRACAM on the WHT, Vik Dhillon and Tom Marsh are organising a Specialist Discussion Meeting on High Time Resolution Astrophysics at the Royal Astronomical Society on 12 April 2013. Further information can be found at the meeting website: http://www.vikdhillon.staff.shef.ac.uk/ras.

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Last modified: 13 February 2013