11 July 2016 Development of an automated data acquisition and processing pipeline using multiple telescopes for observing transient phenomena
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Abstract
We report on the current status in the development of a pilot automated data acquisition and reduction pipeline based around the operation of two nodes of remotely operated robotic telescopes based in California, USA and Cork, Ireland. The observatories are primarily used as a testbed for automation and instrumentation and as a tool to facilitate STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) promotion. The Ireland node is situated at Blackrock Castle Observatory (operated by Cork Institute of Technology) and consists of two optical telescopes – 6” and 16” OTAs housed in two separate domes while the node in California is its 6” replica. Together they form a pilot Telescope ARrAy known as TARA. QuickPhot is an automated data reduction pipeline designed primarily to throw more light on the microvariability of blazars employing precision optical photometry and using data from the TARA telescopes as they constantly monitor predefined targets whenever observing conditions are favourable. After carrying out aperture photometry, if any variability above a given threshold is observed, the reporting telescope will communicate the source concerned and the other nodes will follow up with multi-band observations, taking advantage that they are located in strategically separated time-zones. Ultimately we wish to investigate the applicability of Shock-in-Jet and Geometric models. These try to explain the processes at work in AGNs which result in the formation of jets, by looking for temporal and spectral variability in TARA multi-band observations. We are also experimenting with using a Twochannel Optical PHotometric Imaging CAMera (TOΦCAM) that we have developed and which has been optimised for simultaneous two-band photometry on our 16” OTA.
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Vaibhav Savant, Vaibhav Savant, Niall Smith, Niall Smith, "Development of an automated data acquisition and processing pipeline using multiple telescopes for observing transient phenomena", Proc. SPIE 9910, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VI, 99102P (11 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2232516; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2232516
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