STELLA Robotic Observatory

STELLA, short for STELLar Activity are two fully robotic, 1.2m telescope at Izana Observatory located in Tenerife, Spain. They uniquely combine a high-resolution spectrograph, SES and a wide-field imager, WiFSIP. STELLA is a long-term project for observing and monitoring activity tracers on cool stars with two robotic telescopes.

It was inaugurated in 2006 and is in fully robotic operation ever since. It dwarfs commonly operated telescopes not only in running costs: Over the years, the STELLA team was successful in lowering the technical downtime of the telescopes to a mere 2%. Also the shutter-open times are impressive: 87.5% for SES and 67.9% for WiFSIP.

STELLA telescopes

Only fully automatic observing, where read-out times of the CCDs are already used for sliding the telescope to the next target, combined with fast-acquiring, fast-focusing algorithms make such a performance possible.

STELLA’s Echelle Spectrograph SES will get two cousins in the next years. The first one is already planned for arrival in 2020, the second one for 2023. STELLA-II will then feed three spectrographs simultaneously, all with a spectral resolution of around 55,000.

All data remains within the observing project's PIs. Sporadically we publish some images in the public domain (see gallery).

The STELLA double telescope during the day, with the summit of the Teide mountain in the background.

STELLA is a project of the Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP) in collaboration with the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC).

Main contact address is:

PI of STELLA is K. Strassmeier. M. Weber is responsible for all hardware issues of both telescopes and instruments and the point of contact for the SES data reduction pipeline. T. Granzer is responsible for software issues and the WiFSIP data reduction pipeline. The entire team is presented here.

Sun is about to rise as the STELLA telescopes take the last calibration frames for the night.

Night falls and the STELLA telescopes start observing.

3D model of the STELLA telescopes.

The moon watches over both STELLA telescopes on a cold winter night.