AAS 202nd Meeting, May 2003
Session 38 Robotic Astronomical Observatories
Topical Oral, Wednesday, May 28, 2003, 8:30-10:00am and 10:45am-12:30pm, 209/210

## [38.10] Networking Robotic Telescopes

J.R. Mattox (Francis Marion University)

Many groups around the world are developing automated or robotic optical observatories. The coordinated operation of robotic optical telescopes at diverse sites could provide observing prospects which are not otherwise available, e.g., continuous optical photometry without diurnal interruption. Computer control and scheduling also offers the prospect of effective response to transient events such as \gamma-ray bursts. The development of such a network would be facilitated by the existence of standards. A set of standard commands for instrument and telescope control systems would allow for the creation of software for an observatory control system'' which can be used at any facility which complies with the TCS and ICS standards. Also, there is a strong need for standards for the specification of observations to be done, and reports on the results and status of observations. In addition to facilitating new science, a network of robotic optical telescopes could also serve education.