The SUPAscope network – round-the-clock access to the night sky

 

The “SUPAscopes” are three identical 1m robotic telescopes located at top observatory sites spread around the southern hemisphere: Siding Spring Observatory (Australia), South African Astronomical Observatory, and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (Chile). Our capital investment has been turned into a share of the larger world-spanning LCO (Las Cumbres Observatory) network of 0.4m, 1m, and 2m telescopes, with a partnership agreement enabling collaborative projects with LCO and further network partners.

 

By providing round-the-clock access to the night sky, the LCO/SUPAscope network enables quasi-uninterrupted time series observations with both multi-filter imagers and spectrographs, and is the leading facility of its kind in the world. The automated scheduling of the telescopes allows for fast response via software interfaces.

 

Major current research lines using the SUPAscope facility include studying the population of cool planets by gravitational microlensing, exoplanet transits (confirmation, characterisation, and new detections by transit timing variations), time-domain observations of young stars, and the echo mapping of Active Galactic Nuclei.
The SUPAscopes are set to strategically match the increasing demand for facilities able to provide follow-up of detected transients, resulting from several new large surveys coming up over the coming years. Our network of Scotland’s robotic telescopes around the world increases the visibility of Scottish astronomy, fosters collaboration with other institutions, and helps us in continuing to attract the best students.