UCT unveils Meerlicht telescope at Sutherland

The project is a collaboration between the Netherlands, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

A view of the Meerlicht Optical Telescope in Sutherland on 25 May 2018. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN

SUTHERLAND - The University of Cape Town (UCT) is celebrating a major leap forward after unveiling a new telescope.

It’s called the Meerlicht Optical Telescope and it will work with the Meerkat Radio Telescope, helping scientists to gain more data and a better understanding of the cosmos.

The project is a collaboration between the Netherlands, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The telescope will spend all its time watching the skies, collecting and storing data on cosmic explosions, energetic outflows, stars and other astronomical phenomena.

Head of UCT’s astronomy department, Professor Patrick Woudt, says the study of exploding stars across the universe will now gain a whole new dimension.

“The idea was to how best follow up with anything we can find with the Meerkat Telescope and the solution was to build our own telescope that will permanently be tied to the Meerkat observing schedule.”

Scientists and developers involved in the project have travelled to Sutherland in the Northern Cape to celebrate the advent of the Meerlicht.

The telescope will simultaneously scan the Southern Skies, in conjunction with the SKA.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)