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The Zadko Telescope: Exploring the Transient Universe

  • D. M. Coward (a1), B. Gendre (a2) (a3), P. Tanga (a4), D. Turpin (a5) (a6), J. Zadko (a1), R. Dodson (a7), M. Devogéle (a8) (a9), E. J. Howell (a1), J. A. Kennewell (a1), M. Boër (a3), A. Klotz (a5) (a6), D. Dornic (a10), J. A. Moore (a1) and A. Heary (a1)...

Abstract

The Zadko telescope is a 1 m f/4 Cassegrain telescope, situated in the state of Western Australia about 80-km north of Perth. The facility plays a niche role in Australian astronomy, as it is the only meter class facility in Australia dedicated to automated follow-up imaging of alerts or triggers received from different external instruments/detectors spanning the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Furthermore, the location of the facility at a longitude not covered by other meter class facilities provides an important resource for time critical projects. This paper reviews the status of the Zadko facility and science projects since it began robotic operations in March 2010. We report on major upgrades to the infrastructure and equipment (2012–2014) that has resulted in significantly improved robotic operations. Second, we review the core science projects, which include automated rapid follow-up of gamma ray burst (GRB) optical afterglows, imaging of neutrino counterpart candidates from the ANTARES neutrino observatory, photometry of rare (Barbarian) asteroids, supernovae searches in nearby galaxies. Finally, we discuss participation in newly commencing international projects, including the optical follow-up of gravitational wave (GW) candidates from the United States and European GW observatory network and present first tests for very low latency follow-up of fast radio bursts. In the context of these projects, we outline plans for a future upgrade that will optimise the facility for alert triggered imaging from the radio, optical, high-energy, neutrino, and GW bands.

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