FRAM for CTA
Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Na Slovance 1999/2, 182 21 Praha 8, Czech Republic
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Published online: 26 March 2015
The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is a project to build a new generation ground-based gamma-ray observatory. Among other goals, the project aims to achieve high precision of gamma-ray energy measurement while maximizing the use of observation time. These objectives require detailed and fast information about atmospheric conditions, particularly the transparency which includes cloudiness (including thin high-altitude clouds) and aerosol content. This knowledge is required not only to select and calibrate data after observation, but also to make on-the-fly scheduling decisions. To provide such data without interfering with the observation (as would be the case when using laser-based methods), we propose to use the “FRAM” (F(/Ph)otometric Robotic Atmospheric Monitor) device, which is a small robotic astronomical telescope with a large field of view and a sensitive CCD camera. FRAM will use stellar photometry to measure atmospheric extinction across the field of view of the CTA. The fast robotic mount of the telescope allows quick observation of multiple fields when the array is split and even a check of the conditions in the directions of the upcoming observations. The FRAM concept is built upon experience gained with a similar device operated at the Pierre Auger Observatory.
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