LCOGTLas Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope
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To date LCOGT has installed four other identical 1-metre telescopes around the globe: an operational prototype at the McDonald Observatory, Texas, US (April 2012) and three science-grade telescopes at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), Chile (October 2012).
LCOGT astronomers want to respond quickly to events that can only be observed for a short time.
Three Northern Hemisphere observatories and three more in the Southern Hemisphere will host the LCOGT telescopes in exchange for observing time.
This is particularly important to LCOGT founder Wayne Rosing, former vice president of engineering at Google and a self-described telescope nut.
With its combination of custom telescopes and top-flight software controlling them simultaneously, LCOGT really is like a single robotic telescope operating on a global scale.
A few years ago, the LCOGT team built a small-scale prototype telescope.
Robotic telescopes at LCOGT then allow immediate follow-up observations.
SAAO Director, Prof Phil Charles visited LCOGT late last year to finalise the last details of the agreement between these two parties.
LCOGT headquarters is in a double-story building which contains their offices and also some very well equipped workshops, laboratories and clean rooms where the telescopes and cameras as well as their supporting equipment like the enclosures, dome control gear, etc.
These tubes are then fitted with in-house developed mechanisms and electronics and mounted on a LCOGT designed horseshoe equatorial drive to produce the final telescopes for deployment in the field.
The SBIG factory happens to be one block away from LCOGT headquarters.
During my visit, the LCOGT Science Advisory Board had a two-day meeting.