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Session 34 - Real Instruments.
Display session, Tuesday, June 09
Atlas Ballroom,

[34.05] Studies of Optical Variability with ROTSE

R. Kehoe, C. Akerlof, B. Lee, T. A. McKay (U. Michigan), S. Marshall (LLNL), J. Bloch, D. Casperson, S. Fletcher, G. Gisler, W. Priedhorsky, J. Szymanski, J. Wren (LANL)

We have initiated the Robotic Optical Transient Search Experiment (ROTSE) to probe optical variability best studied with dedicated instruments characterized by fast response and wide field-of-view. The physics of interest includes gamma-ray burst and X-ray transient optical counterparts, variable stars, Kuiper Belt comets, and near-Earth asteroids. The first instrument, ROTSE-I, consists of a 2\times2 array of CCD cameras covering a 16\arcdeg field-of-view and able to reach 15 mag. in 5 seconds. These cameras reside on a rapid-slewing mount capable of pointing to a target in less than three seconds. The operating software provides full automation of all observations so that the experiment can respond in real-time to physics triggers from external sources, while also executing a more regular plan of observations. The second-stage device (ROTSE-II) consists of two independent 0.45-m Cassegrain telescopes each having a 1.9\arcdeg field-of-view and able to reach 18 mag. in a 10 sec. exposure. We discuss the hardware and software characteristics of these detectors, as well as some preliminary analysis results.

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Program listing for Tuesday