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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[19.01] Studies of Nearby Supernovae with the Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope

A. V. Filippenko (UC Berkeley)

The Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope (KAIT) at Lick Observatory is a fully robotic 0.75-m reflector equipped with a CCD imaging camera. Its telescope control system checks the weather, opens the dome, points to the desired objects, finds and acquires guide stars, exposes, stores the data, and manipulates the data without human intervention. There is a filter wheel with 20 slots, including UBVRI. Five-minute guided exposures yield R ~20 mag.

One of our main goals is to discover nearby supernovae (with redshifts generally less than 5000 km/s), to be used for a variety of studies. Special emphasis is placed on finding them well before maximum brightness. A limit of ~19 mag (4\sigma) is reached in the 25-second unfiltered, unguided exposures of our Lick Observatory Supernova Search (LOSS). We observe up to ~1000 galaxies per night, and try to cycle back to the same galaxies after 3-4 nights. Our software automatically subtracts new images from old ones and identifies supernova candidates that are subsequently examined by undergraduate research assistants. LOSS found 19 supernovae in 1998 and 40 in 1999, making KAIT the world's most successful search engine for nearby supernovae. We also find novae in the Local Group, comets, asteroids, and cataclysmic variables. Multi-filter follow-up photometry is conducted of the most important supernovae, and all objects are monitored in unfiltered mode. A Web page describing LOSS is at http://astro.berkeley.edu/~bait/kait.html .

KAIT and its associated science have been made possible with funding or donations from NSF, NASA, the Sylvia and Jim Katzman Foundation, Sun Microsystems Inc., the Hewlett-Packard Company, Photometrics Ltd., AutoScope Corporation, and the University of California. Many people contributed to KAIT and LOSS over the past decade, especially R. R. Treffers, W. D. Li, and M. W. Richmond.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://astro.berkeley.edu/~bait/kait.html. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: alex@astro.berkeley.edu

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