The UK Schmidt Telescope
The UK Schmidt Telescope (UKST) is a special purpose camera, a survey telescope with a very wide-angle field of view. It was designed to photograph 6.6 x 6.6 degree areas of the night sky on photographic plates 356 x 356 mm (14 x 14 inches) square. This 1.2m telescope was commissioned in 1973, and became part of the AAO in 1988. From 1973 to 1988, the UKST was operated by the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh (visit the UK Schmidt at ROE).
The UKST's initial task was the first deep, blue-light photographic survey of the southern skies, which was completed in the 1980s. It has since undertaken many other survey projects in different colours and in the near infrared and more are in progress, notably the Second Epoch Sky Survey in collaboration with Space Telescope Science Institute. The excellent optics and wide field are now also exploited by FLAIR, a multi-object fibre-optic spectrographic facility, ideal for obtaining the spectra of up to 100 objects in a single field.
The characteristics of UKST and the AAT complement each other perfectly and many AAT projects depend on the wide field capabilities of the UKST. The telescopes of the Anglo-Australian Observatory have together discovered and confirmed more distant quasars, the most energetic but often the most distant objects in the Universe.
UK Schmidt Telescope, Anglo-Australian Observatory