UK Schmidt Telescope
The 1.2 metre UK Schmidt Telescope (UKST) is operated by the Australian Astronomical Observatory (formerly the Anglo-Australian Observatory), and located adjacent to the 3.9 metre Anglo-Australian Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory, Australia. It is very similar to the Samuel Oschin telescope in California. The telescope can detect objects down to magnitude 21 after an hour of exposure.
The UKST is a Schmidt camera, with a design based on the Oschin Schmidt Telescope. It is a survey telescope with a 6° by 6° field of view, and has been the primary source of optical survey data in the southern sky since it was opened in 1973. The original sky survey plates have been digitally scanned by the Space Telescope Science Institute to create the Guide Star Catalog for the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Digitized Sky Survey.
Although the UKST was originally used to make photographs of the sky, it is now used almost exclusively for multi-object spectroscopy with the 6 degree Field (6dF) instrument. 6dF uses a robot to position up to 150 optical fibres on a plate mounted at the focal plane of the UKST, which then carry light from the targets to a spectrograph which sits on the floor of the dome. The 6dF Galaxy Survey (6dFGS), a redshift survey of 120,000 infrared-selected galaxies has recently been completed, and the UKST is now engaged in the RAdial Velocity Experiment (RAVE) to measure the radial velocities and metallicities of up to 1 million stars in our Milky Way Galaxy.
- Australian Astronomical Observatory UK Schmidt Telescope homepage
- Guide Star Catalog
- Digitized Sky Survey
- 6dF Galaxy Survey
- RAVE Survey
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