BOOTES, the Burst Observer and Optical Transient Exploring System, is a network of astronomical observatory with sites in Southern Spain and New Zealand. It makes use of two sets of wide-field astrographic cameras, 240 km apart. These two stations taking simultaneous images will allow astronomers to distinguish near-Earth object
Near-Earth object
A near-Earth object is a Solar System object whose orbit brings it into close proximity with the Earth. All NEOs have a perihelion distance less than 1.3 AU. They include a few thousand near-Earth asteroids , near-Earth comets, a number of solar-orbiting spacecraft, and meteoroids large enough to...

s, closer than one million feet (300 km) from more distant phenomena, thus ruling out satellite
In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object which has been placed into orbit by human endeavour. Such objects are sometimes called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as the Moon....

 glints, head-on meteors, etc. in order to study the short duration optical transient phenomena that occur in the Universe. A third telescope, BOOTES-3 has been constructed in Blenheim, New Zealand and is being commissioned.

BOOTES provides an automated real time observing response to the detection of Gamma Ray Bursts GRBs
Gamma ray burst
Gamma-ray bursts are flashes of gamma rays associated with extremely energetic explosions that have been observed in distant galaxies. They are the most luminous electromagnetic events known to occur in the universe. Bursts can last from ten milliseconds to several minutes, although a typical...

. Error box size depending, it uses wide field cameras (WFC), ultra wide field cameras (UWFC) and narrow field cameras (NFC) attached to small robotic telescope
A telescope is an instrument that aids in the observation of remote objects by collecting electromagnetic radiation . The first known practical telescopes were invented in the Netherlands at the beginning of the 1600s , using glass lenses...

s or the telescopes themselves.

To study GRBs it is of the utmost importance to perform prompt optical follow up observations, to detect longer wavelength transient emission associated to them. BOOTES can perform such follow ups. Its scientific objectives include:

• Simultaneous and quasi simultaneous observations of GRB error boxes.

• Detection of optical flashes of cosmic origin.

• Sky monitoring in the I, R1 & V bands.

• Monitoring of different types of objects in search of recurrent transient optical emission.

• Discovery of comets, meteors, asteroids, variable stars, nova
A nova is a cataclysmic nuclear explosion in a star caused by the accretion of hydrogen on to the surface of a white dwarf star, which ignites and starts nuclear fusion in a runaway manner...

e and supernova
A supernova is a stellar explosion that is more energetic than a nova. It is pronounced with the plural supernovae or supernovas. Supernovae are extremely luminous and cause a burst of radiation that often briefly outshines an entire galaxy, before fading from view over several weeks or months...


BOOTES is part, within the framework of a Spanish-Czech collaboration, of a wide ongoing effort to prepare for the ESA’s satellite INTEGRAL. The project has been now performing rapid follow up observations of events detected by BATSE, BeppoSAX, RossiXTE and the IPN, for two years. Results include:

• Predetection images: they set up upper limits for any possible precursors.

• Simultaneous images: the first was achieved last 20 February 2001, although no counterpart was detected.

• Quasi simultaneous images: i.e. GRB 000313 as shown in the picture at the right.

BOOTES sites

  • BOOTES-1 - El Arenosillo
    El Arenosillo
    El Arenosillo is the name of a rocket launch site for suborbital rockets for atmospheric soundings, located near Mazagón in Spain. It is located in the province of Huelva in southern Spain, in the southwestern part of the autonomous community of Andalucía....

    - 37.0995°N 6.73747°W
  • BOOTES-2 - Estación Experimental de La Mayora - 36.7569°N 4.04273°W
  • BOOTES-3 - Blenheim, New Zealand - 41.4913°S 173.8395°E

External links

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