Telescope BART (acronym for Burst Alert Robotic Telescope) is one of the oldests fully-autonomous robotic telescopes in the world – it exists since early 2000. It’s creation was motivated by an urgent need of GRBs observing with minimal delay after it’s detection, which made the full automatization necessary. The begin was very groundbreaking, involved many students and resulted in creation of now widely used system for robotic telescopes RTS2.
The telescope is located in central Europe in Czech Republic, more precisely in Ondřejov, in observatory of Astronomical Institute of Academy of sciences of the Czech Republic, on coordinates 49.909041,14.781876, just a few meters far from robotic telescope D50.
The telescope’s form and equipment slightly changed in time, nowadays it uses german–type mount Losmandy Titan, which is holding two optical telescopes: the “narrow–field” (NF), which is 0.25m Schmidt–Cassagrain from Meade (f=1600mm), and “wide–field” (WF), which is 0.1m Maksutov–Cassegrain from Rubinar (f=500mm). The main telescope (NF) is equipped with CCD camera cm2 from FLI, and uses digital focuser and filter wheel with standard photometric filters (BVR Johnson–Bessel, RG850 long pass filter (z”)) and also clear position for unfiltered observation. The wide–field uses CCD camera G2–1600 from Moravian Instruments and has neither focuser nor filter wheel (uses unfiltered observation only).
As it has been written, the telescope is driven by RTS2 system and is observing in fully autonomous mode with the exception of start of observation. It can be also made automatically, but we still prefer to use this manual–start mode, in fact it could be even necessary at least in winter time (need of manual snow replacement from roof mechanism etc). All other tasks (reacting on GRB alerts, selecting targets, reflecting the weather etc) is done without human interaction, as is usual for RTS2–based telescopes.
The standard (non–GLORIA) observational program of BART is based on observing of optical afterglows of GRBs and longterm monitoring of various astrophysical objects (cataclysmic variables, symbiotic stars, AGNs etc). The access via GLORIA is limited to the necessary and fail–safe devices only, e.g. the sliding roof manipulation is denied (it’s driven automatically by RTS2). The astrometry–based positioning feedback is provided automatically during the standard RTS2–based observation, unfortunately this is not operational when running in GLORIA interactive mode – so the movement precision may vary.
To save the sensitive detectors, we have decided to forbidden the observation of Moon. The RTI should not allow to move the telescope closer than 5deg from Moon’s center. The observation of bright planets is possible but not recommended (because of telescope’s parameters). To save the detector, only short (<0.1s) exposures should be used.