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A surface magneto-optic Kerr effect (MOKE) setup fully integrated in an ultrahigh vacuum chamber is presented. The system has been designed to combine in situ MOKE and scanning tunneling microscopy. Magnetic fields up to 0.3 T can be applied at any angle in the transverse plane allowing the study of in-plane and out-of-plane magnetization. The setup performance is demonstrated for a continuous film of 0.9 monolayers (ML) Co/Rh(111) with in-plane easy axis and for a superlattice of nanometric double layer Co islands on Au(11,12,12) with out-of-plane easy axis. For Co/Au(11,12,12) we demonstrate that the magnetic anisotropy energies deduced from thermally induced magnetization reversal and from applying a torque onto the magnetization by turning the field are the same. For the presented setup we establish a coverage detection limit of 0.5 ML for transverse and 0.1 ML for polar MOKE. For island superlattices with the density of Co/Au(11,12,12), the latter limit corresponds to islands composed of about 50 atoms. The detection limit can be further reduced when optimizing the MOKE setup for either one of the two Kerr configurations. ©2009 American Institute of Physics