Gaspar Bakos awarded $1M from Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for HATPI project

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Principal Investigator Gaspar Bakos has been awarded $1M through the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for a project at Princeton dubbed HATPI – “HAT” from the Hungarian-made Automated Telescope and “PI” for the sky coverage of the telescope (π steradians) of the night sky – about the angle covered by an umbrella held over your head.

While most telescopes make very specific observations, repeated with a timescales of a few days to years, HATPI has a 30-second cadence through a hedgehog-like array of 63 telescopes on a single mount. HATPI will create very high precision measurements to detect the shadow of a planet crossing the (unseen) disk of nearby stars. It is also great for finding earth-threatening asteroids, all kinds of variable stars, exploding stars and possibly even the optical emission from a gravitational wave source. The telescope will be sited at Las Campanas Observatory in northern Chile. It will cover the whole sky every clear night and over the course of a year, it will record three-quarters of the entire sky. The Princeton team also aims to process the data in real time and make the results public.

HATPI telescope

HATPI telescope with 63 lenses

More detail of the Feb 3, 2017 Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation announcement can be seen here.