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Proceedings Paper

A large array of telescopes in Antarctica with all-sky imaging every five seconds
Author(s): Donald G. York; Lifan Wang; Carl Pennypacker; Xiangqun Cui; Enrico Cappellaro; Morley Blouke; Don Lamb; John Storey; Roger Malina; Michael C. B. Ashley; Stephane Basa; Xu Zhou; Jingyao Hu; Xiangyan Yuan; Doyal Harper; Dale Sandford; Jon Lawrence; Julie Thorburn
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Paper Abstract

We describe a large-angle survey for fast, optical transients: gamma ray bursts (GRBs), supernovae (SNe), lensed and transiting planets, AGNs and serendipitously found objects. The principal science goals are to obtain light curves for all transients and to obtain redshifts of GRBs and orphan afterglows. The array is called Xian. In conjunction with the gamma-ray satellites, ECLAIRs/SVOM and GLAST, the data will be used to study sources from z=0.1 to >6. The telescope array has 400 Schmidt telescopes, each with ~20 sq. degree focal planes and apertures of ~0.5 meters. The passively cooled, multiple CCD arrays have a total of 16000x16000 pixels, up to 13 readout channels per 1K x 4K CCD and work in TDI mode. The system provides continuous coverage of the circumpolar sky, from the Antarctic plateau, every few seconds. Images averaged over longer time intervals allow searches for the host galaxies of the detected transients, as well as for fainter, longer timescale transients. Complete, data at high time resolution are only stored for selected objects. The telescopes are fixed and use a single filter: there are few (or no) moving parts. Expected detection rates are 0.3 GRBs afterglows per day, >100 orphan afterglows per day and >0.1 blue flashes per day from Type II or Type Ib/c supernovae. On-site computers compare successive images and trigger follow-up observations of selected objects with a co-sited, well-instrumented telescope (optical, IR; spectroscopy, photometry, polarimetry), for rapid follow-up of transients. Precursor arrays with 20-100 square degrees are planned for the purpose of developing trigger software, testing observing strategies and deriving good cost estimates for a full set of telescope units.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 June 2006
PDF: 16 pages
Proc. SPIE 6267, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes, 62671F (23 June 2006);
Show Author Affiliations
Donald G. York, Univ. of Chicago (United States)
Lifan Wang, Lawrence Berkeley Lab. (United States)
Carl Pennypacker, Space Sciences Lab. (United States)
Xiangqun Cui, Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics and Technology/NAOC (China)
Enrico Cappellaro, INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Morley Blouke, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)
Don Lamb, Univ. of Chicago (United States)
John Storey, Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Roger Malina, Lab. d'Astrophysique de Marseille (France)
Michael C. B. Ashley, Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Stephane Basa, Lab. d'Astrophysique de Marseille (France)
Xu Zhou, National Astronomical Observatories (China)
Jingyao Hu, National Astronomical Observatories (China)
Xiangyan Yuan, Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics and Technology/NAOC (China)
Doyal Harper, Univ. of Chicago (United States)
Dale Sandford, Yerkes Observatory, Univ. of Chicago (United States)
Jon Lawrence, Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Julie Thorburn, Yerkes Observatory, Univ. of Chicago (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6267:
Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes
Larry M. Stepp, Editor(s)

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