AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002
Session 30. Mining the Sky in Real Time
Special Session Invited, Monday, June 3, 2002, 2:00-3:30pm, La Cienega

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[30.01] Real-Time Gamma Ray Burst Observations with Swift

N. Gehrels (NASA/GSFC), Swift Team

Swift is a NASA gamma-ray burst MIDEX mission that is in development for launch in 2003. It is a multiwavelength transient observatory for GRB astronomy. It provides autonomous spacecraft repointing capability for real-time observations of bursts and their afterglows. The goals of the mission are to determine the origin of GRBs and their afterglows and use bursts to probe the early Universe. A wide-field camera will detect more than a hundred GRBs per year to 5 times fainter than BATSE. Sensitive narrow-field X-ray and UV/optical telescopes will be pointed at the burst location in 20 to 70 sec by an autonomously controlled "swift" spacecraft. For each burst, arcsec positions will be determined and optical/UV/X-ray/gamma-ray spectrophotometry performed. Measurements of redshift will be performed for many of the bursts. The instrumentation is a combination of superb existing flight-spare hardware and design from XMM and Spectrum-X/JET-X and development of a coded-aperture camera with a large-area (~0.5 square meter) CdZnTe detector array. Much of the hardware is currently in fabrication and integration. Key components of the mission are vigorous follow-up and outreach programs to engage the public and astronomical community in Swift.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.