Instrumentation and robotic astronomical observation

DAM researchers have been involved since 2000 in the design, implementation and operations of the Observatori Astronomic del Montsec (OAdM) in Lleida (Spain), which includes:

1) Telecope Joan Oró (TJO): This is the largest telescope in Catalonia, named Joan Oró after the famous Catalan biochemist and pioneer of astrobiology. The TJO has a 0.8-m primary mirror with an overall f/9.6 optical system in Ritchey-Chrétien configuration. It is equipped with two instruments: MEIA, the optical imager with the 5 Johnson-Cousins filters providing S/N=100 in 300 seconds for V ~ 17 mag, and ARES, the medium-resolution (R=12000) optical spectrograph (495-529 and 634-678 nm) with limiting magnitude V ~ 11 mag. The TJO is a general purpose facility and, as such, it carries out a variety of observations related to various science cases. Since the beginning of science operations, DAM researchers have used MEIA for the monitoring of variability of SpectroPhotometric Standard Stars for Gaia mission and for the characterization of stars in clusters. DAM researchers have also contributed to the design of ARES, which soon will be ready for operations.

2) Telescope Fabra-ROA Montsec (TFRM): 

The TFRM is a 0.5m aperture f/0.96 optically modified Baker-Nunn Camera, which offers a unique combination of  instrumental specifications: fully robotic and remote operation,  wide-field of view (4.4ox4.4o), moderate limiting magnitude (V=19.5  mag), ability of tracking at arbitrary right ascension and declination rates, as well as opening and closing CCD shutter at will during an exposure.

Nearly all kind of image survey programs can benefit from those specifications. Apart from other less time consuming programs, since the beginning of science TFRM operations DAM researchers have been conducting two specific and distinct surveys: super-Earths transiting around M-type dwarfs stars and geostationary debris in the context of Space Situational Awareness / Space Surveillance and Tracking (SSA/SST) programs. In parallel other programs as the search for near earth objects (NEO) and the observations of high energy sources are carried out regularly.