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10 July 2010-
PIRATE partnership signed at ceremony in Palma de Mallorca

The OU’s robotic telescope project PIRATE moved into a new phase that will see the addition of a partner facility by the University of Hamburg in a new dome on a neighbouring tower of the observatory building in Mallorca. The success of PIRATE in teaching practical science at a distance and its role in astronomy research made it possible for the Hamburg Observatory to secure funding for a PIRATE twin. Salvador Sanchez Martinez, the Director of the Observatori Astronomic de Mallorca, Jürgen Schmitt, the Director of Hamburg Observatory, and Ulrich Kolb, Senior Lecturer in the OU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and Director of the PIRATE project, signed collaborative agreements at a ceremony in Palma de Mallorca on 10 July 2010.

The ceremony was attended by local dignitaries, including Xavier Ramis, Senator for the Balearic Islands, Pere Reus, Director General of the Department for Research, Technological Development and Innovation of the Government of the Balearic Islands, and Joan Font, councillor for culture in the Council of Mallorca.

The Hamburg facility is expected to be completed in spring 2011 and will have a robotic dome identical to the PIRATE dome. The larger mirror with 60 cm aperture will be an ideal complement to PIRATE’s wider field of view.

Palma ceremony
Kolb, Schmitt, Sanchez and Font (from left) at the ceremony in Palma.

Palma ceremony
From left: Reus, Burwitz, Sanchez, Kolb, Schmitt, Font, Ramis

Drawing of new dome
Proposed new dome (left) next to the existing PIRATE dome (right). Drawing by Vadim Burwitz.

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