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Aarhus University to take over the Nordic Optical Telescope on La Palma

As of 1 December 2020 Aarhus University has acquired another astronomical telescope in our "machine park". This time it is an elderly but large instrument with an aperture of 2,56 meter.

Danish student group in front of NOT in August 2014. Photo: Johan Fynbo.
Danish student group in front of NOT in August 2014. Photo: Johan Fynbo.


The Nordic Optical Telescope, NOT from 1. December 2020 is to be managed in a coorperation between the universities of Aarhus and Turku, Finland. The Department of Physics and Astronomy, IFA will handle everything connected to administration, distribution of observations slots and data, development and maintenance of the telescope and it's instruments. The University of Turku will formally own the telescope, and will be responsible for all agreements with the Spanish authorities, in relations to managing the telescope on the Canary Island of La Palma. The observatory staff is from this date employed by the Aarhus University, and we welcome the new coworkers to the Department of Physics and Astronomy.


Management of the telescope is supported by the Nordic countries. The Danish part of this is covered by the Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science. Observation time can be granted all Danish researchers and students via open calls.

photo: Magnus Gålfalk, Nordic Optical Telescope.

NOT was inaugurated in 1989 and has since been a workhorse for Nordic astronomers, especially aiming to give students and young researchers experience in practical observations work, alongside securing  the best possibilities for supporting research in the Nordic countries. The line of work related to education will be continued and strengthened, and a new instrument is under construction: Nordic Transient Explorer, a combined camera and spectrograph specifically enabled to observe phenomena in the sky of short durations, covering temporal resolutions of minutes or even seconds. NTE is expected to be ready for use in 2022.

More on NOT.