That means a more complete look at the universe in real-time. It is fully robotic, equipped with one 100-megapixel camera. “It is the first time you have a telescope that will track a radio telescope so that if there are discoveries that are made, you will be able to follow up,” Phil Mjwara, director general in the South African ministry of Science and Technology, told to media.
Among the priorities for MeerLICHT is the study of black holes, neutron stars and stellar explosions, which must be scrutinised quickly before they fade away. MeerLICHT boasts of a huge field of view that allows astronomers to see an area 13 times the size of the full moon in exquisite detail, and pick up objects one million times fainter than is possible with the human eye. “The study of exploding stars across the universe will gain a whole new dimension,” said University of Cape Town professor Patrick Woudt, a senior scientist working on the telescope. The origin of Fast Radio Bursts could be eventually established. This will be the world’s most powerful radio telescope system when fully operational in the 2020s. Scientists from South Africa, the Netherlands, and UK began working on this project six years ago.