30 September 2004 Robotic telescope for rapid gamma-ray burst follow-up observations
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Abstract
We have developed a robotic telescope at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) to perform rapid follow-up observations of early optical afterglows of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). Our system was primarily designed to respond quickly to the GRB locations notified by the High Energy Transient Explorer 2 (HETE-2) satellite, but it can also respond to all the notifications provided by the GRB Coordinates Network (GCN). In order to cover the error circle of the HETE-2 wide-field and thermo-electrically cooled CCD camera is equipped on the focus of a small 30 cm telescope. A field of view of our system is 44 arcminutes which can cover the most error circles of the HETE-2. The rapid response (less than 15 sec after the notice) and slew speeds (6 deg/sec) make our system appropriate for observing GRB afterglows. Using this convenient system, we detected the optical afterglow of GRB 030329. Observation was started 67 minutes after the burst, which was one of the earliest detection in the world. We report the performance of our telescope coupled to CCD camera, and estimate the limiting magnitude of our system. Although our system is located in a region affected by strong city lights, the limiting magnitude is approximately 17.3 mag.
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Rie Sato, Nobuyuki Kawai, Motoko Suzuki, Yoichi Yatsu, Jun Kataoka, "Robotic telescope for rapid gamma-ray burst follow-up observations", Proc. SPIE 5492, Ground-based Instrumentation for Astronomy, (30 September 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.550890; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.550890
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KEYWORDS
Charge-coupled devices

Telescopes

CCD cameras

Robotics

Gamma radiation

Stars

Cameras

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