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The Mercator Telescope in the Era of the ESA Gaia and NASA TESS space missions.

With this project, we request funding to pursue the operations of the Flemish Mercator Telescope in the 2021-2024 timeframe under the ongoing Flemish-Spain bilateral international agreement. The application’s budget covers the cost of two technical staff members based at La Palma, Spain (this is the minimum number of staff members under which one can operate the telescope all year round), one postdoctoral researcher employed at KU Leuven performing Mercator science exploitation on a joint IAC-KU Leuven Mercator project, as obliged under the bilateral agreement as well as the running and maintenance costs of the telescope and its instruments. We plan two critical technological developments – a Fabry-Pérot wavelength calibration system and a near-UV-optimised CCD for the MAIA multi-band camera –, a public archive bringing about 30 000 high-quality historical spectra available to the world, and a repositioning of the science operational model which, in the 2021-2024 time frame, will prominently feature synergies with the ESA Gaia and NASA TESS space missions and will pave the way to exploitation of the ESA PLATO mission in the 2026+ timeframe.

Date:1 May 2021  →  Today
Keywords:Ground-based spectroscopy, Ground-based photometry, Intermediate and high-mass stars
Disciplines:Astronomical and space instrumentation, Infrared and optical astronomy, Stellar astrophysics, Time-domain astrophysics