The New Robotic Telescope (NRT) team were fortunate enough to visit two major astronomy conferences this summer. With presentations and discussions about a wide variety of science and engineering topics taking place in Coventry, UK and Montréal, Canada.
The National Astronomy Meeting (NAM) is held annually at a UK university and includes the UK Solar Physics (UKSP), and the Magnetosphere Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial (MIST) communities. This year NAM was hosted at Warwick University from 11th to 15th July and welcomed astronomers and solar physicists from a variety of different universities and institutions. A diverse range of parallel science sessions, along with plenary talks, stimulated new research and ideas and provided a well-earned catch up with colleagues.
The NRT had a parallel session in which speakers presented: a project overview (Chris Copperwheat, LJMU), an introduction to the scheduling project (David Law, LJMU), software architecture examples that could be applicable the NRT project (C. Clare Worley, Cambridge), polarimetric transient surveys (Klaas Wiersema, Lancaster), comet science (Cyrielle Opitom, Edinburgh) and accreting binary observations with the NRT (Chris Duffy, Armagh). There were also poster presentations about blazar observations (Callum McCall, LJMU), supernovae classification systems (Dan Perley, LJMU), cloud prediction models (Sebastian Buntin, LJMU) and recurrent novae searches (Michael Healey, LJMU). The session lead to some fruitful discussions about science capabilities, instrumentation, scheduling and transient brokers.
The following week members of the NRT team attended the SPIE astronomical telescopes and instrumentation meeting from 17th - 22nd July in Montréal, Canada.
A variety of talks and poster presentation were given by members of the team from the IAC, LJMU and University of Ljubljana, including an update of the NRT optical design which was presented on the main stage by Instrument Scientist Éamonn Harvey.
The SPIE conference was a great opportunity for the team to share their work, gain new insights and meet new people. In addition to enjoying the conference, the team also participated in a range of popular activities in Montréal such as eating poutine, spotting beavers and scaling the walls of indoor climbing hangars.