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Development of the Arizona Robotic Telescope Network
Author(s): Benjamin J. Weiner; David Sand; Paul Gabor; Chris Johnson; Scott Swindell; Petr Kubánek; Victor Gasho; Taras Golota; Buell Jannuzi; Peter Milne; Nathan Smith; Dennis Zaritsky
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Paper Abstract

The Arizona Robotic Telescope Network (ARTN) project is a long term effort to develop a system of telescopes to carry out a flexible program of PI observing, survey projects, and time domain astrophysics including monitoring, rapid response, and transient/target-of-opportunity followup. Steward Observatory operates and shares in several 1-3m class telescopes with quality sites and instrumentation, largely operated in classical modes. Science programs suited to these telescopes are limited by scheduling flexibility and people-power of available observers. Our goal is to adapt these facilities for multiple co-existing queued programs, interrupt capability, remote/robotic operation, and delivery of reduced data. In the long term, planning for the LSST era, we envision an automated system coordinating across multiple telescopes and sites, where alerts can trigger followup, classification, and triggering of further observations if required, such as followup imaging that can trigger spectroscopy. We are updating telescope control systems and software to implement this system in stages, beginning with the Kuiper 61” and Vatican Observatory 1.8-m telescopes. The Kuiper 61” and its Mont4K camera can now be controlled and queue-scheduled by the RTS2 observatory control software, and operated from a remote room at Steward. We discuss science and technical requirements for ARTN, and some of the challenges in adapting heterogenous legacy facilities, scheduling, data pipelines, and maintaining capabilities for a diverse user base.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 July 2018
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 10704, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VII, 107042H (10 July 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2314265
Show Author Affiliations
Benjamin J. Weiner, MMT/Steward Observatory (United States)
David Sand, Steward Observatory (United States)
Paul Gabor, Vatican Observatory (United States)
Chris Johnson, Steward Observatory (United States)
Scott Swindell, Steward Observatory (United States)
Petr Kubánek, Large Binocular Telescope Observatory (United States)
Victor Gasho, Steward Observatory (United States)
Taras Golota, Vatican Observatory (United States)
Buell Jannuzi, Steward Observatory (United States)
Peter Milne, Steward Observatory (United States)
Nathan Smith, Steward Observatory (United States)
Dennis Zaritsky, Steward Observatory (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10704:
Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VII
Alison B. Peck; Robert L. Seaman; Chris R. Benn, Editor(s)

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