Faculty and students will increase their ability to make astronomical observations via a telescope in the Canary Islands. Starting in January 2015, students may access the remotely operated 1.0-m Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope (JKT) on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma, off the coast of Morocco. In July 2013 the NSF decided to fund the $474,000 project via its Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI).
The JKT, at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, has been idle since 2003. In late 2011, however, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) of the United Kingdom announced the opportunity for interested parties to submit proposals to take over telescope operations. Dan Batcheldor, physics and space sciences, jumped at this chance.
“It seemed like a no-brainer for us,” said Batcheldor, who worked as a support astronomer at the JKT while an undergraduate intern in 1999. “As lead institute for the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA), we have been remotely operating these types of telescopes for over 20 years.”
Image courtesy of the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes, La Palma