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The New Robotic Telescope (NRT) is an international, collaborative project to build the world’s largest robotic telescope; the first responder to explosive and rapidly fading sources in the night sky. Combining innovative ideas with 15 years’ experience of autonomous telescope and instrumentation operations, we will create a fully optimised observatory for the future of astronomical studies of transient phenomena.

Our Universe is active, dynamic and variable, with explosive and cataclysmic events happening all around us. The unpredictable nature of these events, coupled with their transience, makes them difficult, but incredibly exciting to study.


Transient phenomena are frequently the manifestation of the most extreme events in the universe: highly energetic processes occuring at extremely high densities, gravity and magnetic and electrical field strengths.

Ciara Naughton

Building on the success of the LT, its 4 metre successor, the New Robotic Telescope (NRT), will focus on robotic, autonomous, fast follow-up of rapidly varying and fading transients, including gravitational wave candidates and new and exciting objects, which are anticipated to be discovered in the new upcoming era of survey telescopes. The next decade will see the commissioning of many major international projects, opening new windows on the time-variable universe. They will make it possible to search wider areas of the sky than ever before, and as such discover new classes of transient and time-variable sources at optical, radio and high-energy Gamma-ray wavelengths and exploiting multi-messenger and particle physics too. There is a critical need for a new 4-metre optical follow-up facility to rapidly respond to such discoveries and make detailed photometric, spectroscopic and polarimetric observations.

The NRT project is an international collaboration between engineering and science partners using innovation and creativity to create a ground-breaking facility for the astronomy community.

Liverpool John Moores University’s Astrophysics Research Institute (ARI) built, owns and maintains the operation of the 2-metre fully autonomous and robotic Liverpool Telescope (LT) and have over 15 years' experience in supporting autonomous operation of an optical telescope, instrument design and science operations. They will lead the operations of the NRT and combine its functionality with the existing LT.

The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) is a world-leading expert in the design, maintenance and operation of telescopes on the Roque de los Muchachos and Teide. With a wide variety of facilities under their belt, they offer a wealth of expertise to the project, including the knowledge of the telescope control system of the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC).

The University of Oviedo’s Institute of Space Sciences and Technologies of Asturias (ICTEA) is a broadly interdisciplinary institution, comprised mainly from two research teams: the Applied Mathematical Modeling Group and the High Energy Experimental Physics Group. These groups conduct research in fields such as astrophysics, planetary geology, cosmology, exoplanet detection, adaptive optics, machine learning and material science.

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