Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes
La Palma, Canary Islands
Each year up to 10 Physics and Astronomy students have the opportunity to join a subsidised field trip to the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes in La Palma, Canary Islands, to use our pt5m telescope. They can also visit the 4m William Herschel Telescope (WHT) and the 10m Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC).
Students on the MPhys Physics and Astrophysics course have the option to spend year four of their degree working at the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes. At 2,400m above sea level, these telescopes are in an almost ideal environment for astronomy.
Our student Liam Hardy, featured in the video, was based at the ING and used the facilities to study planets orbiting nearby stars, known as exoplanets. By observing the slight decrease in light from these stars as a planet passes in front of the star it is possible to both detect and study the properties of these planets. Studies of exoplanets provide information on the formation of planetary systems and in the future will allow direct signs of life to be observed.
Telescope for detecting optical signals from gravitational waves launched
Our Professor of Astrophysics, Vik Dhillon, was recently on La Palma for the launch of the Gravitational-wave Optical Transient Observer. He was part of the international research team that built the state-of-the-art telescope for detecting optical signatures of gravitational waves.