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Published October 2006 | Published
Journal Article Open

The automated Palomar 60 inch telescope


We have converted the Palomar 60 inch (1.52 m) 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 ≾ 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.

Additional Information

© 2006 The Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Received 2006 July 16; accepted 2006 August 11; published 2006 October 23. We would like to thank the entire staff at Palomar Observatory, without whose patience and hard work this project would not have been possible. S. B. C. and A. M. S. are supported by the NASA Graduate Student Research Program. A. G. acknowledges support by NASA through Hubble Fellowship grant HST-HF-01158.01, awarded by STScI. GRB research at Caltech is supported through NASA and the NSF.

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August 19, 2023
October 23, 2023