Robotic telescope for rapid gamma-ray burst follow-up observations

R. Sato*, N. Kawai, M. Suzuki, Y. Yatsu, J. Kataoka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


We have developed a robotic telescope at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) to perform rapid follow-up observations of early optical afterglows of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). Our system was primarily designed to respond quickly to the GRB locations notified by the High Energy Transient Explorer 2 (HETE-2) satellite, but it can also respond to all the notifications provided by the GRB Coordinates Network (GCN). In order to cover the error circle of the HETE-2, wide-field and thermo-electrically cooled CCD camera is equipped on the focus of a small 30cm telescope. A field of view of our system is 44 arcminutes which can cover the most error circles of the HETE-2. The rapid response (less than 15 sec after the notice) and slew speeds (6 deg / sec) make our system appropriate for observing GRB afterglows. Using this convenient system, we detected the optical afterglow of GRB 030329. Observation was started 67 minutes after the burst, which was one of the earliest detection in the world. We report the performance of our telescope coupled to CCD camera, and estimate the limiting magnitude of our system. Although our system is located in a region affected by strong city lights, the limiting magnitude is approximately 17.3 mag.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-870
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Issue numberPART 2
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Dec 24
Externally publishedYes
EventGround-based Instrumentation for Astronomy - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 2004 Jun 212004 Jun 25


  • Afterglow
  • Gamma-ray burst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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