The HATPI Project is building a telescope that will, in a single exposure, observe the majority of the night sky visible from its observing site in Chile in 30 seconds. This is accomplished by attaching 63 carefully aligned instrument-holder units (IHUs; including lenses, CCD cameras, focusers, and fine-pointing mechanisms) to a large mount. The mount will track stars as they rise and set during the night while the telescope keeps imaging, effectively creating a movie of the night sky. HATPI will enable the detection of a diverse array of objects ranging from near-earth asteroids and exoplanets around bright stars to novae and bright gamma-ray bursts. The large field of view of this instrument, coupled with the dense time-sampling, will vastly improve our understanding of transient astronomical events.
Construction of the HATPI building has been completed at Las Campanas Observatory (LCO), Chile. In addition, the HATPI mount has been manufactured in Hungary and is ready to ship to LCO. Finally, we have some promising early science results from tests of prototype HATPI IHUs carried out over the last year.
The Principal Investigator for the project is Gáspár Bakos, Associate Professor in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University. Prof. Andrés Jordán at the Instituto de Astrofísica of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile is co-PI. The HATPI project team includes scientists from Princeton University, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Las Campanas Observatory, and engineers from the Hungarian Astronomical Association.