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GTN The GLAST Telescope Network Involvement for students and teachers in the science of the Swift, GLAST, and XMM-Newton missions Gordon Spear and Tim.

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Presentation on theme: "GTN The GLAST Telescope Network Involvement for students and teachers in the science of the Swift, GLAST, and XMM-Newton missions Gordon Spear and Tim."— Presentation transcript:


2 GTN The GLAST Telescope Network Involvement for students and teachers in the science of the Swift, GLAST, and XMM-Newton missions Gordon Spear and Tim Graves Sonoma State University SwEC, July 2003

3 GTN n What is it? (some motivation) –GRBs, AGNs, Blazars, CVs, Polars n How does it work? –Observe using telescopes w/CCDs, analyze and submit data, compare and interpret results, help others n Join us! –Involvement with exciting science, support the Swift, GLAST, and XMM-Newton missions

4 What is the GTN? … and what does it do? n An environment which allows students, teachers, amateur astronomers, and professional astronomers to participate in obtaining and analyzing significant scientific observations which directly support several NASA missions n Collaboration among small observatories and observers with access to telescopes n Chase after GRBs (images) n Surveillance, lead-up, and follow-up observations of blazars and polars (images) n Analysis of images and determination of magnitudes n Archive magnitude measurements and CCD images

5 Science Objectives n Chase after GRB afterglows and determine magnitudes n Establish base-line magnitudes and optical activity levels for bright, Gamma-loud AGNs (blazars) and magnetic CVs (polars) n Provide optical lead-up and follow-up observations for GLAST and XMM-Newton targets n Provide optical triggers for observations of blazars and polars by GLAST and XMM- Newton

6 What are these objects? n Blazars (type of active galaxy, AGN) n Polars (type of cataclysmic variable, CV) n Gamma-ray burst (GRB)

7 Artistic Impression of an AGN

8 The Blazars n The blazars appear to be AGN for which the jets are pointing directly at us. n We are looking directly down the throat of the dragon! n These are the only prominent point sources in the gamma-ray sky that are outside of the galactic plane. (Gamma loud) n Beams of particles moving at relativistic speeds produce intense beams of gamma rays. n These are the most variable of the AGNs.

9 Blazar Variability Data n Slow, longterm irregular changes with occasional outbursts (flares) and declines n Available observations –Longterm (few per year) –Intraday (few per week) –Microvariability (many per hour) n Lightcurve classification –Outbursts –Declines –Outbursts and declines n The blazars –Most variable of the AGNs –Amplitudes to 4 magnitudes or more –Can exhibit detectable variations from night-to- night and within a night –Periodicity has NOT been convincingly demonstrated

10 B outbursts B declines

11 B outbursts and declines PG non-blazar AGN

12 Intraday Variability

13 Mrk mag miniflare BL Lac 0.4 mag in 30 minutes

14 Artistic Impression of a CV

15 The Cataclysmic Variables n The cataclysmic variables (CVs) are close binary systems. –One component is a white dwarf. –One component is a cool main sequence star. –Orbital periods are typically a few hours. n Mass transfer is occurring from the main sequence star to the white dwarf. n As mass falls toward the white dwarf the matter normally forms a disk or ring around the white dwarf. n As sufficient matter accumulates on the white dwarf an explosion and outburst can occur. n These are the cataclysms of the cataclysmic variables.

16 Artistic Impression of a Polar

17 The Polars n The polars are a type of magnetic CV. n The magnetic field of the white dwarf component can be several million Gauss. n The magnetic field is so strong that a disk or ring is prevented from forming. n As matter falls toward the white dwarf the matter is forced to follow the magnetic field lines. n The matter eventually strikes the white dwarf at the magnetic poles. n These are the polars.

18 GRBs

19 The GTN What is it?

20 How does it work? n Small telescopes with CCD cameras –Schools, students,amateurs, professionals n Robotic telescope systems are ideal n Observing program target objects target objectstarget objects –One or more objects observable any time of year n Observing techniques n Data reduction and analysis techniques n Partners and participants

21 The AAVSO Partnership n The AAVSO and the GTN have agreed to a partnership to encourage and support observations of the GTN target objects (GRBs, blazars, polars). n AAVSO --> American Association of Variable Star Observers AAVSO

22 The nature of the AAVSO partnership n AAVSO has an active GRB observing program and data archiving system. n AAVSO has added the bright GTN blazars and polars to their observing list. n AAVSO will adopt the GTN photometric sequences. n AAVSO will archive GTN magnitude determinations and make them available to the scientific community (Lightcurve Generator). n GTN will archive CCD images (GTNA). n AAVSO will provide all observations of blazars and polars to the GTN.

23 Some Examples of GTN Data 3C66A, SSUO V-filter, stack of 4 2-minute exposures

24 3C66A - SSUO & AAVSO CCD observations Visual estimates plus CCD observations

25 Sonoma State University Observatory

26 The SSU Robotic Telescope System RTS1 n Paramount-ME w/Celestron-14 and Apogee AP-47 –0.4 meter telescope, point to better than 10 arcseconds, track to better than 2 arcsec, CCD with better than 90% QE –Capable of reliable photometry to 18th magnitude n Currently being tested at SSUO n Will be installed at dark site and begin science observations in 2003 n Observe GTN blazar and polar fields every clear night beginning 2003 and continuing through the GLAST mission n Will chase after GRB afterglows

27 Testing the SSU Robotic Telescope Likely dark site installation

28 The RTS1 Site at Pepperwood Preserve California Academy of Sciences RTS1 will be located at the Hume Observatory

29 How can you participate and contribute? n Obtain CCD observations of GTN target objects (GRB afterglows, blazars, polars) n Provide telescope time or telescope access for GTN participants n Reduce and analyze CCD data obtained by other GTN participants n Participate in intense microvariability campaigns n Mentor GTN participants in observing procedures, data reduction, basic astronomy

30 What is in it for students and teachers? n Participation in a significant research program supporting major space observatories n Opportunities for collaboration with other GTN participants and mission scientists n Opportunities to submit scientific data that will be used by scientists to better understand these strange objects n Access to the data in the GTN and AAVSO archives n Announcements of outbursts and other activity reported for GRBs, blazars, and polars n GTN electronic mailing list n Ask a Scientist n Teacher’s Guide, tutorials, and curriculum materials

31 The GTN Join with us! n Exciting science n Hands-on student projects, science fair projects n Collaboration with other students and scientists n Involvement with major space observatories n Possible original discoveries


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