Since it is not possible to predict when a Gamma-Ray Burst (GRB) occurs, the follow-up ground telescopes must be distributed as uniform as possible all over the world in order to collect simultaneous data with the Swift detections. Based on the three-year operations of Swift, however, we noticed the distinct gap in follow-up coverage in the eastern U.S. region (Figure 1). This fact motivated us to construct a fully automated optical telescope here at GSFC.

Figure 1: The location of the ground telescopes used for the GRB follow-up between September 2006 to March 2007. Different colors correspond to a different size of the aperture of the telescope.


  • Celestron 14" Optical Telescope Assembly (OTA)
  • Astro-Phyics 1200GTO German-type equatorial mount
  • JMI Electronical focuser (EV2CM and PCFC)
  • Finger Lake Instrumentation Color filter wheel (CFW-1-8) and filters (UVBRI)
  • Apogee U47 CCD camera
  • Astro-Haven 7ft dome
  • Davis Instruments Vantage Pro2 Weather Station
  • Logitec QuickCam Chat (x3)


  • MaxImDL -> ACP

Telescope Site

  • Goddard Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory (GGAO) (latitude:39.0 deg, longtude:-76.9 deg)

Team Members

NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration