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RE: A rival system
A "super Mk III" is how Roy once describbed his system to me.
So, yes it is like a Mk III only with these differences
1) He used 12 inch diameter optics
2) He used a larger, thinned, back iluminated CCDs
3) No filters
4) He has a very dark site
The result is
1) he can routinly see down to mag 20
2) He can do astometry good enough to do orbit determination
The numbers speak for themselves. He has credit for on order
of 200 asteriod discoveries and claims 55,000 possible variable stars
have been identified. All that is with one triplet.
TASS on the other hand has had many operaional systems runing
for many years now and is at least 2 orders of magnitude lower
in the amount of "stuff found".
Why? I think there is a general rule about telescopes: "Diameter
matters". He's using 12 inch optical systems
--- "Gutzwiller, Michael" <email@example.com> wrote:
> In many ways this is much more like TASS Mark III than the Mark IV.
> systems have much larger telescopes (1 meter vs. 100 mm) and better
> allowing them to get to mag 20 instead of the mag 13-14 for the Mark
> The design will have many of the same advantages and disadvantages as
> Mark III. Advantages include simple design and low cost.
> include low sample rates (3 samples per night per site at best) which
> it difficult to find variability.
> In spite of the press release I can't see any way this system would
> have a
> reasonable chance at finding extrasolar planets.
> Mike G.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tony Beresford [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Wednesday, May 28, 2003 1:43 AM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: A rival system
> Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Global Network of Astronomical Telescopes (GNAT)
> Tucson, Arizona
> Dr. Eric R. Craine, 520-325-4505, email@example.com
> Embargoed until 27 May 2003, 12:30 p.m. CDT
> AUTOMATED TELESCOPE ARRAY DISCOVERIES MOUNT
> Astronomers are announcing today early results of a prototype,
> three-telescope array of automated astronomical imagers. These have
> used to discover new Solar System objects, as well as to discover and
> monitor the time variable brightness of stars, especially those
> potentially harboring extrasolar planets. The report is being
> today by Dr. Eric R. Craine of the Global Network of Astronomical
> Telescopes (GNAT), Tucson, Arizona to the American Astronomical
> meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. The system is of special interest
> because of its very low cost, extremely high data output and
> to myriad astronomical observations.
> This array is named the Moving Object and Transient Event Search
> (MOTESS). It was designed by Roy A. Tucker of Goodricke-Pigott
> Observatory (GPO), Tucson, Arizona. It was originally implemented for
> discovery and astrometric measurement of asteroids, but it is also
> as a large-scale, cost-effective photometric monitoring instrument
> large volume data handling techniques developed under direction of
> Eric R. Craine and Mark S. Giampapa of the National Solar Observatory
> (NSO), Tucson, Arizona. The prototype automated MOTESS observatory,
> located in Tucson, is a proof-of-principle system for a 48-telescope,
> globally distributed network planned by GNAT. During its first two
> of automatic operation, MOTESS has yielded valuable observations of
> asteroids as well as stellar variability.
> The MOTESS system is both cost-effective and productive. Costs for
> telescope hardware are minimized through "scan-mode" operation,
> each telescope in the array is pointed at a specific position in the
> with respect to the Earth. The view of the sky seen by each telescope
> changes by virtue of the rotation of the Earth, thereby scanning the
> across the field of view of each instrument. With no moving parts in
> hardware system, costs of the prototype system were held at under
> $20,000, a fraction of the cost of more traditional, comparable
> telescopes. The telescopes make their observations automatically and
> continuously throughout the night, and hence remain unattended by
> operators during that time. Since the cameras make one long,
> uninterrupted exposure throughout the night, there is no deadtime for
> moving the telescopes to new positions or inactivating camera
> while individual images are read out. Each image has a width nearly
> twice the full Moons diameter, and about 10-12 hours of time long,
> typically covering about 200 square degrees on the sky per night, per
> telescope in the array. During the course of a year, the system
> typically makes several observations per night of approximately 1.5
> million stars, as well as hundreds of asteroids and transient events.
> Asteroid searches with the MOTESS system involve acquisition of
> of images of select regions of the sky, each telescope contributing
> of the images of the triplet each night. These images are aligned
> respect to one another and they are alternately displayed in software
> such that moving objects are visually distinguished from the fixed
> background stars. Detection of asteroids as faint as 20-21 magnitude
> possible with this system. During the first year of observation, 290
> newly discovered asteroids were measured. Naming rights for over 180
> asteroids have accrued to the program. Experience with this system is
> leading to data handling software which is expected to provide
> detection of such asteroids.
> The MOTESS system is presently accumulating a catalog of three
> brightness observations per night of the 1.5 million stars in its
> current observing list. These observations are repeated nightly
> throughout the year, enabling the creation of long-term light curves
> each of these stars. In the region of the sky along the celestial
> equator presently monitored, there are 179 known variable stars, all
> which have been observed. In addition, examination of the light
> in this database indicate that there are approximately 55,000 newly
> discovered variable star candidates. These include stars that vary
> periodically, either due to eclipses by companion stars or by
> internal pulsations, as well as stars which vary irregularly over
> periods of time.
> The MOTESS system is a pioneering complement to other planned major
> survey instruments, and it is a valuable test-bed for developing
> techniques of handling large volumes of specialized astronomical
> Combined discovery rates of asteroids as well as varyiable stars of
> different types provides analysis opportunities which could occupy
> hundreds of students and researchers for many years to come. The flow
> MOTESS data will triple by Spring of 2004 with the implementation of
> more telescopes in the emerging network of scan-mode systems. GNAT is
> actively seeking collaborators interested in studying and analyzing
> these interesting new objects.
> For more information, see: http://www.gnat.org/~ida/gnat/index.html
> IMAGE CAPTION: [http://www.gnat.org/~ida/gnat/pr/MOTESS-PR1.JPG]
> The MOTESS prototype system produces continuous images during the
> of each night of observation which, when reproduced with a 30-inch
> width, stretch for over 180 yards in length. The inset shows the size
> the Full Moon in one of the images. These images are currently
> three times during each night of observation and contain images of
> nearly 1.5 million stars during the course of a year.
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