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First GRB Imaged

Newcastle Observatory Detects a Gamma Ray Burst.

On 5 February UT, the field of GRB 110205A detected by SWIFT (trigger 444643) was observed, beginning approximately 49 minutes after the GRB trigger, with the Newcastle Observatory 0.4 meter robotic telescope, located in Newcastle, Ontario, Canada (Bortle Class 4-5 sky). Observations were made under transparent skies, but with poor seeing. Weather was good with an ambient temperature of -4C. No Moon was present.

Robotic Capability

The main telescope at Newcastle Observatory now has robotic capability with the addition of ACP and ACP Scheduler.  The telescope, dome, imaging and guiding cameras, and focuser are controlled by scripted software so that astrometry and photometry can be performed unattended (i.e. without human intervention).  This automation includes shutting down all equipment and closing the dome shutter at the end of an observing run.

MPC Code Assigned

The Minor Planet Center Assigns Newcastle Observatory Code H61

On Wednesday, November 19 at 4:31 PM EST, Newcastle Observatory was advised via e-mail from Gareth Williams, Associate Director of the Minor Planet Center (MPC), that it was assigned observatory code H61. This signifies that Newcastle Observatory is capable of making astrometric observations of acceptable quality.

Astrometry Begins

Today, the observatory begins an astrometry program for minor planets and comets. A "first light" image of numbered minor planet, or asteroid, (1865) Ceberus was captured this evening to mark the beginning of the observatory's astrometry observations to be submitted to the Minor Planet Center at Harvard University's Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.


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