BlackGEM for the public

Read all about The BlackGEM telescope array, download information and learn about our outreach programs

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BlackGEM for astronomers

Learn about the technical details of the BlackGEM telescope array and the science that it will support

BlackGEM for partners

Partners have access to the BlackGEM Array portal. You can also request access here.

Status of BlackGEM: The first three telescopes of the BlackGEM array are installed at the ESO La Silla Observatory. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the decision of ESO to close its observatories in Chile for the time being, any on-site work on the telescopes is currently halted. Software and upgrade design work is continuing. We will inform you when commissioning resumes.

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

An overview presentation of the BlackGEM project can be found here