AAS 196th Meeting, June 2000
Session 19. Scientific Results from Automated Telescopes
Special Session Oral, Monday, June 5, 2000, 2:00-3:30pm, Highland C/H

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[19.03] Scientific Results from RoboScope's First Decade

R.K. Honeycutt (Indiana University)

RoboScope is an automated 41-cm telescope that since 1990 has monitored long-term photometric variability in cataclysmic variables and related objects. A unique combination of limiting magnitude (18), accuracy (.01-.02 mag), data spacing (typically 1-5 days) and data length (9-10 years) is provided by this system. Among the CV accretion phenomena for which RoboScope has provided new information are high-state/low-state transitions in VY Scl stars, SU UMa systems with very fast supercycles, and stunted outbursts in nova-like CVs. RoboScope results on these kinds of CVs will be briefly reviewed. Without human assistance RoboScope does open/close decisions, scheduling, CCD calibrations, liquid nitrogen fills, all other necessary observatory operations, data reductions, and light curve updates. The limited number of program stars (about 120) and the high degree of automation together provide rather dense light curves that contain rich information on time scales shorter than the typical data spacing. Examples of this capability are given for polars and for dwarf novae.

RoboScope has also been used to refine techniques for unattended spectroscopy that will be used on a companion 1.25-m telescope. This is an important extension because many long-term photometric changes require spectroscopic data on similar timescales for effective interpretation. RoboScope has been partly funded by the National Science Foundation.

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