AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 10 Instrumentation, Ground-based
Poster, Monday, May 31, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Ballroom

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[10.10] A Gamma-Ray Burst Rapid Response Observatory in the US Virgin Islands

T. W. Giblin, J. E. Neff, J. Hakkila (The College of Charleston), D. Hartmann (Clemson University), N. Andresian-Thomas (The University of the Virgin Islands)

The College of Charleston (CofC) is one of three institutions that belongs to a consortium led by the Division of Science and Mathematics at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) to maintain and operate an automated research grade telescope on the island of St. Thomas (18 deg, 21 arcmin N, 65 deg W at an elevation 1325 ft with 1-arcsecond seeing). The location provides 80% sky coverage of the southern celestial hemisphere and, on average, about 6 hours of clear sky per night, except during the peak of hurricane season. The extreme eastern US location will also allow very early observations of Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs), making the observatory an ideal facility for responding to GRBs. CofC leads the primary research function of this facility: rapid, automated follow-up observations of GRBs observed with NASA's Swift spacecraft, to be launched in September 2004, via the GCN. The newly renovated observatory houses a new robotic 0.5 m Cassegrain telescope with a back-illuminated Marconi 42-40 20482048 imaging CCD and 12-position UBVRI filter wheel. Assuming 1.5 arcsecond seeing and a S/N=5, we can obtain a limiting (unfiltered) magnitude of ~19 with a 10 second integration time. The slew rate is >10 degrees per second. With the exceptional sky coverage, we anticipate a detection rate of about 10-15% of the Swift detection rate and making a significant contribution to the global network of small telescopes dedicated to GRB observations.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://astro.uvi.edu. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: giblint@cofc.edu

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