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P.T. Boyd (NASA's GSFC), P. Roming (PSU), K. O. Mason (MSSL), J. Nousek (PSU), N. Gehrels, F. Marshall (NASA's GSFC), M. Still (SALT/SAAO), P. Brown, S. D. Hunsberger (PSU), A. Breeveld (MSSL), Swift UVOT Team
The UltraViolet and Optical Telescope (UVOT), onboard the Swift gamma-ray burst (GRB) satellite, is a diffraction-limited 30 cm Ritchey-Chretien reflector. An 11-position filter wheel allows broad-band UV/visible photometry and grism observations. Photons register on a microchannel plate intensified CCD (MIC). The UVOT is co-aligned with Swift's X-Ray Telescope (XRT) to provide simultaneous ultraviolet and optical coverage (170-600 nm) of gamma-ray bursts and targets of opportunity (TOOs) in a 17' x 17' field. Despite its limited aperture, UVOT is a powerful complement to other instruments because of its UV capabilities and the absence of atmospheric extinction, diffraction, and background. To date, about one in three Swift-detected GRBs have an optical afterglow detected in at least one filter with UVOT.
When Swift is not following-up newly discovered GRBs and their afterglows, observing time is given to interesting fill-in targets and community submitted TOO observations. Effectively, a multiwavelength observing campaign can be put together using only the Swift instruments, and the optical-through-ultraviolet images and light curves obtained with UVOT are essential to this effort. In this presentation we will focus on UVOT results from GRBs with bright afterglows. We also highlight the unique contributions the UVOT has made to the fields of supernova studies, galactic transients, and other objects of interest including Z Cha, the Swift-detected transient Swift J1753.5-0127, and the impact of Comet Tempel.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.