The Zadko Telescope: A Southern Hemisphere Telescope for Optical Transient Searches, Multi-Messenger Astronomy and Education
The new 1m 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 (z¼4.65) and GRB 090516 (z¼4.11), 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.
Coward, David M. | Todd, Michael | Vaalsta, Timo P. | Laas-Bourez, Myrtille | Klotz, Alain | Imerito, Alan | Yan, Liang | Luckas, Paul | Fletcher, Andre B. | Zadnick, Marjan G. | Burman, Ron R. | Blair, David G. | Zadko, James | Boër, Michel | Thierry, Pierre | Howell, Eric J. | Gordon, Sarah | Ahmat, Andrew | Moore, John A. | Frost, Ken