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11 July 2006 BOOTES-IR: a robotic nIR astronomical observatory devoted to follow-up of transient phenomena
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Abstract
"BOOTES-IR" is the extension of the BOOTES experiment, which has been operating in Southern Spain since 1998, to the near-infrared (nIR). The goal is to follow up the early stage of the gamma ray burst (GRB) afterglow emission in the nIR, as BOOTES does already at optical wavelengths. The scientific case that drives the BOOTES-IR performance is the study of GRBs with the support of spacecraft like HETE-2, INTEGRAL and SWIFT (and GLAST in the future). Given that the afterglow emission in both, the nIR and the optical, in the instances immediately following a GRB, is extremely bright (reached V = 8.9 in one case), it should be possible to detect this prompt emission at nIR wavelengths too. Combined observations by BOOTES-IR and BOOTES-1 and BOOTES-2 since 2006 can allow for real time identification of trustworthy candidates to have a ultra-high redshift (z > 6). It is expected that, few minutes after a GRB, the nIR magnitudes be H ~ 10-15, hence very high quality spectra can be obtained for objects as far as z = 10 by much larger ground-based telescopes. A significant fraction of observing time will be available for other scientific projects of interest, objects relatively bright and variable, like Solar System objects, brown dwarfs, variable stars, planetary nebulae, compact objects in binary systems and blazars.
© (2006) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
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