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K.O. Mason, M.S. Cropper, T.E. Kennedy (MSSL), J. Nousek, P. Roming (Penn State University), M. McLelland (SWRI)
The Swift Observatory is a Midex mission that is designed to identify Gamma ray bursts and manouvre rapidly to bring the burst into the field of view of Swift's narrow-field X-ray and UV/Optical telescopes for multiwavelength study. The UV/Optical capability is provided by the UVOT instrument that is sensitive to photons between 170nm and 650nm. It is based on the Optical/UV Monitor telescope currently flying on XMM-Newton, but with improved data handling capability to accommodate the demands of rapidly varying burst sources. The UVOT will be capable of studying the counterparts and afterglow of bursts as faint as B=24 and as bright as B~ 8. Spectral discrimination is provided by a series of broadband filters, while for brighter targets Grisms provide low resolution spectra. By locating the observed energy of the Lyman edge, UVOT will provide direct information on the redshift of the burst. UVOT will also deliver a finding chart of the burst counterpart within a few hundred seconds of the Gamma-ray flash. This will be made available on the WWW to enable rapid follow-up of the burst afterglow with ground-based telescopes.
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