Liverpool Telescope, La Palma

The Liverpool Telescope - © LJMU/ARI

The Liverpool Telescope is one of the largest robotic telescopes in the world. It was designed, built and is managed by astronomers at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU/ARI). A robotic telescope is designed to operate without the need for astronomers to be present on site. Each night the telecope automatically begins to observe the heavens using instructions sent to it during the day from the UK.

Some facts about the telescope:

  • Observatory location: La Palma, Canary Isles
  • Height above sea level: 2,344 metres (7,690 feet)
  • Weight of the telescope: 24.0 metric tonnes
  • Mirror diameter: 2.0 metres

The LT Enclosure - © LJMU/ARI
The Liverpool Telescope is housed in a special enclosure, which is designed to open and close reliably when the weather is suitable. A conventional dome enclosure is not always that reliable and astronomers on site sometimes have to help its operation.

When the enclosure is open the Liverpool Telescope is directly exposed to the night air. Air trapped inside normal telescope dome enclosures tends to heat up slightly causing some turbulence. This results in poorer images of the stars. The unique design of the Liverpool Telecope enclosure overcomes this by maintaining airflow.

This is only a brief description of the Liverpool Telescope. A more detailed look at the LT can be found here.