BlackGEM is a wide-field telescope array dedicated to measure the optical emission from pairs of merging neutron stars and black holes. BlackGEM will be triggered by the Advanced LIGO & Virgo gravitational wave detectors. BlackGEM will be operational by early 2020, *now covid-19 delayed*. The prototype system MeerLICHT was installed in July 2017 and remains operational at the SAAO Sutherland site in South Africa, also during the current covid-19 pandemic.
The BlackGEM telescope will, for the first time ever, construct a multicolored movie of the dynamic and variable Southern skies! BlackGEM will start with 3 telescopes of 65cm diameter, located at ESO La Silla, Chile. BlackGEM will cover 8.1 square degrees instantaneously, with three telescopes, each equipped with a 110 Mpix camera, consisting of a single 10.5k x 10.5k CCD sampling the sky at 0.56 ”/pix. BlackGEM will be seeing-limited (at ~1"), which, in the background limited regime makes the sensitivity equivalent to that of e.g. the ZTF telescope as signal-to-noise ratio scales with D/σ, where D is the diameter of the telescope and σ the effective spatial resolution.
BlackGEM is designed, built and operated by a consortium consisting of NOVA (Netherlands Research School for Astronomy), Radboud University, the KU Leuven and partner institutes