The GOTO project
GOTO targets the early phases of GW-EM follow-up where sky localisation will be the poorest and large and complex error boxes need to be searched over quickly for rapidly evolving transients. Targeting the earliest (and likely brightest) phases will allow for rapid localization of viable candidates and trigger further follow-up on other, larger facilities.
A key component is a synoptic survey mode when not pursuing an event trigger. This ensures very recent reference images are available across the visible sky. This is critical for identifying false-positives and will offer a broad array of time-domain/transient science with GOTO.
The hardware design is scalable, adaptable and upgradable, using ‘off-the-shelf’ components to minimize costs. The systems uses an array of 40 cm diameter astrographs (f/2.5) in order to achieve a large instantaneous field of view. A heavy-duty robotic mount is capable of supporting 8 astrographs within a clamshell enclosure. Large format, but lower grade detectors are used to control cost.
- GOTO is expected to offer a cost-effective GW-EM facility that is globally competitive and can deploy quickly.
- Scalable design philosophy will allow us to quickly build up the facility if/when funding is secured.
- Scope for upgrades and adapting to a more flexible field of view mapping.
- Not just about hardware; data analysis including real-time reduction and classification crucial.
- Broad scope for time-domain astrophysics and study of fast transients.