The Weizmann Astrophysical Observatories

  Eran Ofek  
Weizmann Instiute of Science

The continued advance of telescope and detector technology enables astronomical surveys of a wider area of the sky at ever higher cadences. In turn, this opens a new phase space for discovery, and enables answering important questions in physics. Example science cases include the discovery and study of electromagnetic radiation from gravitational wave events, and consequently the formation of heavy elements, the equation-of-state of nuclear matter, and the expansion rate of the Universe. Increasing the capabilities of survey telescopes is therefore a pressing issue.
We have shown that thanks to recent advances in detector technology we can now design and build survey telescopes with cost effectiveness which is an order of magnitude higher than any existing telescope. Given this realization, we are constructing the Large Array Survey Telescope (LAST). The first LAST node is composed of 48, 28-cm wide field telescopes, and is being constructed in the Israeli Negev desert. When completed, LAST will be 4 times better than the currently highest volume-per-unit-time telescope in the world.