The Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope

One of the World's Most Successful Nearby Supernova Search Engine

Located at Lick Observatory atop Mount Hamilton, just east of San Jose, California, the Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope (KAIT) is an entirely robotic telescope dedicated to the search for supernovae and the monitoring of celestial objects. It is a 76 cm diameter reflecting telescope equipped with a CCD camera and automatic guider.

The KAIT project is led by Professor Alex Filippenko of the UC Berkeley Astronomy Department. Dr. Richard Treffers (formerly of UC Berkeley) and Professor Michael Richmond (currently at the Rochester Institute of Technology) also devoted several years of effort, and Dr. Weidong Li spent 14 years running KAIT (1997-2011). Dr. WeiKang Zheng is now in charge of KAIT nightly operations, assisted by Dr. Thomas Brink. Over the years, more than 100 UC Berkeley undergraduate students have been involved with KAIT. Current undergraduate team members include Andrew Bigley, Sanyum Channa, Nick Choksi, Maxime de Kouchkovski, Goni Halevi, Andrew Halle, Sahana Kumar, Sara Lopez, Jeff Molloy, Andrew Richter, Timothy Ross, Samantha Stegman, Haynes Stephens, and Sameen Yunus.

For a description of the prototype instrument, see Richmond, Treffers, and Filippenko (1993), Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 105, 1164-1174. For a more recent description of KAIT and its supernova search, see Filippenko (2001), in Small-Telescope Astronomy on Global Scales, ed. W. P. Chen, C. Lemme, and B. Paczynski (San Francisco: Astron. Soc. Pacific, Conf. Ser. Vol. 246), 121-130. Lists of press releases and KAIT papers are given below.

Major funding for KAIT was provided to Filippenko by the National Science Foundation, AutoScope Corporation, Photometrics Ltd., Sun Microsystems, the Hewlett-Packard Company, Lick Observatory, and the University of California. Completion of the telescope was made possible by a generous donation from the Sylvia and Jim Katzman Foundation. Current funding for KAIT research is provide by the Katzman Foundation, the TABASGO Foundation, NSF, and NASA.

KAIT Highlights:


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant numbers AST-8957063, AST-9115174, AST-9417213, AST-9987438, AST-0307894, and AST-0607485.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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Last Updated Nov/08/2016 by Weikang Zheng