The automated palomar 60 inch telescope

S. Bradley Cenko, Derek B. Fox, Dae Sik Moon, Fiona A. Harrison, S. R. Kulkarni, John R. Henning, C. Dani Guzman, Marco Bonati, Roger M. Smith, Robert P. Thicksten, Michael W. Doyle, Hal L. Petrie, Avishay Gal-Yam, Alicia M. Soderberg, Nathaniel L. Anagnostou, Anastasia C. Laity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

175 Scopus citations


We have converted the Palomar 60 inch (1.52m) telescope from a classic night-assistant-operated telescope to a fully robotic facility. The automated system, which has been operational since 2004 September, is designed for moderately fast (t ≲ 3 minutes) and sustained (R ≲ 23 mag) observations of gamma-ray burst afterglows and other transient events. Routine queue-scheduled observations can be interrupted in response to electronic notification of transient events. An automated pipeline reduces data in real time, which is then stored on a searchable Web-based archive for ease of distribution. We describe here the design requirements, hardware and software upgrades, and lessons learned from roboticization. We present an overview of the current system performance as well as plans for future upgrades.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1396-1406
Number of pages11
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number848
StatePublished - Oct 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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