The CFHTLS Real Time Analysis System "Optically Selected GRB Afterglows"

Source: arXiv


We describe a wide and deep search for optical GRB afterglows on images taken with MegaCAM at the Canada France Hawaii Telescope, within the framework of the CFHT Legacy Survey. This search is performed in near real-time thanks to a Real Time Analysis System called "Optically Selected GRB Afterglows", which has been completely realized and installed on a dedicated computer in Hawaii. This pipeline automatically and quickly analyzes Megacam images and extracts from them a list of astrometrically and photometrically variable objects which are displayed on a web page for validation by a member of the collaboration. In this paper, we comprehensively describe the RTAS process. We also present statistical results based on nearly one full year of operation, showing the quality of the images and the performance of the RTAS. Finally, we compare the efficiency of this study with similar searches, propose an ideal observational strategy using simulations, and discuss general considerations on the searches for GRB afterglows independently of the prompt emission. This is the first of a series of two papers. A second paper will discuss the characterization of variable objects we have found, as well as the GRB afterglow candidates and their nature. We will also estimate or at least constrain the collimation factor of GRB using the totality of the Very Wide Survey observations.

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Available from: Christian Veillet, Feb 15, 2013
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    ABSTRACT: We describe a large-angle survey for fast, optical transients: gamma ray bursts (GRBs), supernovae (SNe), lensed and transiting planets, AGNs and serendipitously found objects. The principal science goals are to obtain light curves for all transients and to obtain redshifts of GRBs and orphan afterglows. The array is called Xian. In conjunction with the gamma-ray satellites, ECLAIRs/SVOM and GLAST, the data will be used to study sources from z=0.1 to >6. The telescope array has 400 Schmidt telescopes, each with ~20 sq. degree focal planes and apertures of ~0.5 meters. The passively cooled, multiple CCD arrays have a total of 16000x16000 pixels, up to 13 readout channels per 1K x 4K CCD and work in TDI mode. The system provides continuous coverage of the circumpolar sky, from the Antarctic plateau, every few seconds. Images averaged over longer time intervals allow searches for the host galaxies of the detected transients, as well as for fainter, longer timescale transients. Complete, data at high time resolution are only stored for selected objects. The telescopes are fixed and use a single filter: there are few (or no) moving parts. Expected detection rates are 0.3 GRBs afterglows per day, >100 orphan afterglows per day and >0.1 blue flashes per day from Type II or Type Ib/c supernovae. On-site computers compare successive images and trigger follow-up observations of selected objects with a co-sited, well-instrumented telescope (optical, IR; spectroscopy, photometry, polarimetry), for rapid follow-up of transients. Precursor arrays with 20-100 square degrees are planned for the purpose of developing trigger software, testing observing strategies and deriving good cost estimates for a full set of telescope units.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2006 · Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering