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Proceedings Paper

Solaris: a global network of autonomous observatories in the southern hemisphere
Author(s): S. K. Kozłowski; P. Sybilski; Maciej Konacki; R. K. Pawłaszek; Milena Ratajczak; K. G. Helminiak
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Paper Abstract

We present Project Solaris, a network of four autonomous observatories in the Southern Hemisphere. The Project's primary goal is to detect and characterize circumbinary planets using the eclipse timing approach. This method requires high-cadence and long time-span photometric coverage of the binaries' eclipses, hence the observatories are located at sites having similar separation in longitude and nearly identical latitudes: South African Astronómical Observatory, Republic of South Africa (Solaris-1 and -2), Siding Spring Observatory, Australia (Solaris-3) and Complejo Astronomico El Leoncito, Argentina (Solaris-4). The headquarters coordinating and monitoring the network is based in Toruń, Poland. All four sites are operational as of December 2013. The instrument and hardware configurations are nearly identical. Each site is equipped with a 0.5-m Ritchey-Chrétien or Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube assembly mounted on a direct-drive modified German equatorial mount along with a set of instruments. Computer, power and networking components are installed in rack cabinets. Everything is housed in sandwiched fiberglass clamshell 3.5-m diameter robotized domes. The Argentinian site is additionally equipped with a 20-ft office container. We discuss the design requirements of robotic observatories aimed to operate autonomously as a global network with concentration on efficiency, robustness and modularity. We also present a newly introduced spectroscopic mode of operation commissioned on the Solaris-1 telescope. Using a compact échelle spectrograph (20 000 resolution) mounted directly on the imaging train of the telescope, we are able to remotely acquire spectra. A fully robotic spectroscopic mode is planned for 2015.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 July 2014
PDF: 16 pages
Proc. SPIE 9145, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes V, 914504 (10 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2055620
Show Author Affiliations
S. K. Kozłowski, Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Ctr. (Poland)
P. Sybilski, Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Ctr. (Poland)
Maciej Konacki, Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Ctr. (Poland)
R. K. Pawłaszek, Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Ctr. (Poland)
Milena Ratajczak, Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Ctr. (Poland)
K. G. Helminiak, Subaru Telescope, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (United States)
Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Ctr. (Poland)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9145:
Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes V
Larry M. Stepp; Roberto Gilmozzi; Helen J. Hall, Editor(s)

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