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Project Information


The Robotic Optical Transient Search Experiment (ROTSE) is dedicated to observation and detection of optical transients on time scales of seconds to days. The emphasis is on gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), the most powerful explosions in our Universe. The ROTSE equipment is quite modest by the standards of modern optical astronomy but the wide field of view and the fast response permit measurements inaccessible to more conventional instruments. This Web site is devoted to describing our science objectives, the instruments for obtaining data, the techniques for extracting significant information and, finally, some of our conclusions. In the process, we hope to give the visitor a chance to glimpse some of our activities at close hand.

Principle Investigator Carl Akerlof
University of Michigan
To carry out our program, ROTSE telescopes are being installed around the world at several remote locations including Los Alamos, New Mexico, Coonabarabran, Australia and Mt. Gamsberg, Namibia. This permits continuous observations of the night sky, 24 hours per day. The ROTSE project is a collaboration of astrophysicists from the University of Michigan, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the University of New South Wales (Australia) and the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics (Germany). Funding has been provided by NASA, NSF, The Research Corporation, the Australian Research Council, and the German ????.

Learn more about the world-wide extent of the ROTSE project.

Learn more about the science of Gamma-Ray Bursts

Recent Events

20 May, 2004

ROTSE-IIIa in Australia: the system is running normally.

ROTSE-IIIb in Texas: the system is running normally.

ROTSE-IIIc in Namibia: the camera chip came detached from its backing, and the camera is currently in San Diego for repair. We hope to have it returned to Namibia within the next two weeks.

ROTSE-IIId: Eli Rykoff and Carl Akerlof are at Bakirlitepe right now. The system has been made operational, although there are certainly birthing pains. Weather has been only partially cooperative. However, first light has been achieved, and hopefully the system will be fully automatic within the next week.

There is also more information about the ROTSE Collaboration