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The Zadko Telescope: A Southern Hemisphere Telescope for Optical Transient Searches, Multi-Messenger Astronomy and Education

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2013

D. M. Coward
Affiliation:
School of Physics, M013, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
M. Todd
Affiliation:
Department of Imaging and Applied Physics, Bldg 301, Curtin University of Technology, Kent St, Bentley, WA 6102, Australia
T. P. Vaalsta
Affiliation:
School of Physics, M013, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
M. Laas-Bourez
Affiliation:
School of Physics, M013, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia Observatoire de Haute-Provence, F–04870 Saint Michel l'Observatoire, France
A. Klotz
Affiliation:
CESR, Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, CNRS, Université de Toulouse, BP 44346, F–31028 Toulouse Cedex 4, France Observatoire de Haute-Provence, F–04870 Saint Michel l'Observatoire, France
A. Imerito
Affiliation:
School of Physics, M013, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
L. Yan
Affiliation:
School of Physics, M013, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
P. Luckas
Affiliation:
School of Physics, M013, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
A. B. Fletcher
Affiliation:
School of Physics, M013, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
M. G. Zadnik
Affiliation:
Department of Imaging and Applied Physics, Bldg 301, Curtin University of Technology, Kent St, Bentley, WA 6102, Australia
R. R. Burman
Affiliation:
School of Physics, M013, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
D. G. Blair
Affiliation:
School of Physics, M013, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
J. Zadko
Affiliation:
School of Physics, M013, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
M. Boër
Affiliation:
Observatoire de Haute-Provence, F–04870 Saint Michel l'Observatoire, France
P. Thierry
Affiliation:
CESR, Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, CNRS, Université de Toulouse, BP 44346, F–31028 Toulouse Cedex 4, France
E. J. Howell
Affiliation:
School of Physics, M013, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
S. Gordon
Affiliation:
School of Physics, M013, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
A. Ahmat
Affiliation:
School of Physics, M013, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
J. A. Moore
Affiliation:
School of Physics, M013, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
K. Frost
Affiliation:
School of Physics, M013, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
Corresponding
E-mail address:
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Abstract

The new 1 m f/4 fast-slew Zadko Telescope was installed in June 2008 about 70 km north of Perth, Western Australia. It is the only metre-class optical facility at this southern latitude between the east coast of Australia and South Africa, and can rapidly image optical transients at a longitude not monitored by other similar facilities. We report on first imaging tests of a pilot program of minor planet searches, and Target of Opportunity observations triggered by the Swift satellite. In 12 months, 6 gamma-ray burst afterglows were detected, with estimated magnitudes; two of them, GRB 090205 (z = 4.65) and GRB 090516 (z = 4.11), are among the most distant optical transients imaged by an Australian telescope. Many asteroids were observed in a systematic 3-month search. In September 2009, an automatic telescope control system was installed, which will be used to link the facility to a global robotic telescope network; future targets will include fast optical transients triggered by high-energy satellites, radio transient detections, and LIGO gravitational wave candidate events. We also outline the importance of the facility as a potential tool for education, training, and public outreach.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Astronomical Society of Australia 2010

References

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