AAS 206th Meeting, 29 May - 2 June 2005
Session 15 Astronomical Instruments
Poster, Monday, 9:20am-6:30pm, Tuesday, 10:00am-7:00pm, May 30, 2005, Ballroom A

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[15.05] CTI-II Science Drivers

P. Zimmer, W. T. Williams, J. T. McGraw, M. R. Ackermann (Univ. of New Mexico), G. F. Benedict (Univ. of Texas, Austin), C. Wetterer (USAFA)

The CCD/Transit Instrument (now CTI-II), a 1.8m stationary telescope, is currently being rebuilt with a modern focal plane array and wide-field optics for deployment at McDonald Observatory. Given the potential of new optics and detectors coupled with a unique, dedicated observing mode, several key science projects have been chosen as drivers of the ultimate design of CTI-II:

Red Star Astrometry -- M dwarfs constitute 70 40 previous large-scale sky surveys, much of the nearby M dwarf population remains undetected. Long-term astrometric monitoring of these objects will enable milliarcsecond parallax and proper motion measurements. The resulting three dimensional motions support a probe of the gravitational properties of our Galaxy and of the scale-heights of low-mass stellar populations.

AGN Reverberations -- When an AGN outburst occurs, there is a lag between when the UV/optical continuum brightens and when the broad emission lines react. This light travel time lag allows the inner structure of AGNs to be dissected with an absolute scale size. CTI-II observations will provide a basis for photometric variability investigations for more than 1000 nearby to distant AGNs (15 < B < 20). Using intermediate band continuum filters, CTI will monitor the variability of AGNs, providing a “trigger” for AGN outbursts to be followed up with spectroscopic observations by the Hobby-Eberley (HET) and other telescopes.

Supernova Detection -- CTI-II is well-suited to discovering supernovae of all types. In each nightly survey strip, CTI-II will observe more than 300,000 galaxies and discover several new supernovae per night to mB < 22.5. Detection of these supernovae will occur in near realtime and provide targets-of-opportunity for HET follow-up.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #2
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