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

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[38.01] Science Results and Expansion Plans for the Global Network of Astronomical Telescopes (GNAT)

E.R. Craine (WRC/GNAT)

The Global Network of Astronomical Telescopes (GNAT) was incorporated to operate a longitudinally distributed network of automated telescopes for observations of temporal phenomena. GNAT has adopted the Moving Object and Transient Event Search System (MOTESS) scan mode, multi-automated telescope prototype designed by one of GNAT's directors as the basis for an expanded network. Five additional telescopes are now under construction to augment the three telescopes in the prototype system. Continual observations have been made for two years. The first year of data has been reduced and is presently being analyzed. We have produced light curves for 1,197,786 stellar objects unambiguously detected in the data set. We also have 149,394 additional objects, with at least 30 observations each, which are in a separate, transient event file, expected to include moving objects, supernovae, etc. As a check on the variability data, we note that our data set includes 282 previously cataloged variable stars. We are systematically extracting those stars from the data set and are in the process of comparing our results with the published data. This is early stage, but qualitatively we are clearly identifying the variables, the light curves are looking "right", and we have been able to independently confirm those that are periodic. We are integrating, and presently testing, a periodogram program as a part of our data pipeline so that we can batch process all of the variable star candidates, during which period of time we will also be extracting supernovae candidates from the master list of stellar detections. This effort is being aided by cross-correlation of our detection coordinates with those of the 5,260 cataloged galaxies contained in our data. We note that we already have produced many tens of thousands of new variable star discoveries and, even independent of our planetary transit search effort, expect that this will contribute significantly to the literature of variable star studies.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: ercraine@wrc-inc.com

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