The main goal of the W1m telescope is the exploration of exoplanetary systems. It will provide high-precision photometry of transiting exoplanets so that their main properties, such as its size and orbital characteristics, can be determined. The W1m will work in parallel with the SuperWASP experiment, which is searching for planets with wide-angle imaging. The eight telescopes of SuperWASP cover a field of view some 2000 times larger than a conventional telescope but delivers relatively poor photometry. The W1m will thoroughly observe select stars identified with SuperWASP to confirm the nature of their exoplanets and study their properties with great accuracy.
The leading institutions behind the W1m are the University of Warwick (UK) and the IEEC, together with a number of participating institutions (Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes, John Moores University-Liverpool, Keele University, University of Leicester).
The IEEC has carried out a number of different aspects of the project, involving both hardware and software. In particular, these aspects are:
- The two-arm instrument including the optical and mechanical design and construction, and the provision of the infrared filter and camera. Such camera contains a state-of-the art CCD detector employing sophisticated deep-depletion technology that enhances its sensitivity to infrared light.
- An autoguiding system in a closed-loop fashion that uses the images from the camera to correct for drifts in the tracking motion of the telescope. This is one of the key elements permitting the highest precision possible in the photometry.
- The robotic control software suite than must guarantee the safe operation of the telescope in fully automatic and unattended manner. In this case, the technology employed has been developed by IEEC and implemented already at the Observatori Astronòmic del Montsec (OAdM).