Rozhen's new robotic telescope allows astronomers to observe remotely

January 18, 2024, 10:38 am

<p><em>(Photo courtesy of BTA/Institute of Astronomy)</em></p>

(Photo courtesy of BTA/Institute of Astronomy)

SOFIA, Bulgaria – At the beginning of February, the Rozhen National Astronomical Observatory (NAO) will start a scientific observation programme using its new robotic telescope, NAO Director Nikola Petrov told BTA here on Tuesday.

Astronomers from Hungary, Germany, France, Poland, Serbia, Italy, India, Japan, Russia and the United States have collaborated with their Bulgarian colleagues at Rozhen before, but now the new 1.5 m aperture telescope will allow them to carry out observations remotely.

The NAO astronomers are finishing trial observations with the new telescope, which was inaugurated in July 2023.

The tests show that the device performs no worse than the 2 m aperture telescope at Rozhen, Petrov said.

The AZ 1500 telescope was supplied under a project financed through the National Research Infrastructure Roadmap 2020-2027, coordinated by the Ministry of Education and Science.

It was manufactured by Austrian company ASA Astrosysteme GmbH.

With its latest-generation technology, the device has enabled the observatory in the Rhodope Mountains (Southern Bulgaria) to retain its status as a leading astronomical complex of Southeastern Europe, Petrov said.

The new telescope will be used mainly for photometric observations.

It will capture objects in the visible light spectrum. After additional instruments are installed, it will be used for spectral observations as well.

AZ 1500 has significantly expanded the observation activities of Bulgaria's main astronomical observatory while at the same time relaxing the operating agenda of Rozhen's largest, 2 m aperture telescope.

With the new device at their disposal, the Rozhen astronomers will continue to observe both Solar System objects (asteroids, comets etc.) and galaxy-level objects. (BTA)