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Opportunity with the Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope

ING web news release
10 October, 2011

As part of its restructuring of telescope operations on La Palma, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) of the United Kingdom announces its intention to make the Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope (JKT) available free of charge to a suitable party interested in taking control of the scientific exploitation of the telescope.

The JKT is a 1-metre reflecting telescope located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the Canary Island of La Palma. The mounting is equatorial. Two secondary mirrors are available, delivering a standard f/15 Cassegrain focus as well as an alternative f/8 Harmer-Wynne focus originally conceived for wide-field (90 arcmin) photographic astrometry. For the f/15 configuration the telescope has an acquisition and guiding box with a port for scientific instruments. The unvignetted field of view is 34.4 arcmin diameter with a plate scale of 13.8 arcsec/mm. This is ideally suited to CCD imaging that adequately samples image quality at La Palma (median seeing 0.7 arcsec FWHM).

Together with the 4.2-m William Herschel Telescope (WHT) and the 2.5-m Isaac Newton Telescope (INT), the JKT is operated by the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING). It was installed on La Palma in 1983, and offered to visiting observers from the ING partner countries (UK, Netherlands, Spain) until 2003. Since 2004 its use has been restricted to dedicated programmes. The JKT has been very productive scientifically, in a broad range of topics from Solar-system studies to cosmology, feeding a variety of instruments including CCD imagers, photoelectric photometers and spectrographs.

Its location on La Palma, one of the world's best sites for astronomy and not far from mainland Europe, makes the JKT ideal for photometric and imaging programmes that benefit from good image quality, and for training in optical astronomy.

STFC are looking to transfer ownership of the telescope. The new owners will preferably be a recognised public research or training organisation, and will be expected to use the JKT for astronomical research and/or training. They will become one of the user institutions of the Roque de Los Muchachos, the largest concentration of European telescopes in the northern hemisphere, which includes the night-time telescopes GTC (10.4-m), WHT, TNG, INT, NOT, LT, Mercator, Superwasp, SAFT, CATC, as well as the Solar telescopes SST and DOT, and the MAGIC gamma-ray telescopes.

The new owners will sign an agreement with the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) to cover the legal aspects of operation of a scientific facility at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, which is owned by IAC. Signing the Canary Islands International Agreements for Astronomy will give the new owners access to the telescope suite on the Canarian Observatories through the CCI International Time Program (ITP). Owners will be responsible for dismantling the telescope at the end of their operation of the facility for returning the site to its original state.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to the ING Director, Marc Balcells, Expressions of interest are sought before the end of December 2011.

The Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope. [ JPG | TIFF ].

Please visit these links to learn more about JKT, the ING, IAC, and the STFC:

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Last modified: 18 October 2011