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Comet ISON as captured by TRAPPIST before it disintegrated a few days later (left) and first light image of the Tarantula Nebula taken by TRAPPIST in 2010 (right)

The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) is a Belgian, remote and robotic telescope in Chile, which came online in 2010. It is named in homage to Trappists in the Belgian region.[1][2]

Situated high in the Chilean mountains at ESO's La Silla Observatory, it is actually controlled from Liege, Belgium with some autonomous features. It is a reflecting telescope 0.60 m (23.5″) in aperture diameter and is housed in the dome of the retired Swiss T70 telescope.

The telescope is a joint venture between the University of Liège, Belgium and Geneva Observatory, Switzerland, and among other tasks, it specializes in comets and hunting exoplanets.[3][4]

In November 2010, it was one of the few telescopes that observed a stellar occultation of the planetary body Eris, revealing that it may be smaller than Pluto, and it helped observe a stellar occultation by Makemake, when it passed in front of the star NOMAD 1181-0235723. The observations of this event showed it lacked a significant atmosphere.[5][4]



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Coordinates: 29°15′17″S 70°44′22″W / 29.2546°S 70.7394°W / -29.2546; -70.7394