skip to main content

Title: Alignment of the optical system of the 9.7-m prototype Schwarzchild-Coulder Telescope
The novel 9.7m Schwarzschild-Couder Telescope (SCT), utilizing aspheric dual-mirror optical system, has been constructed as a prototype medium size x-ray telescope for the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) observatory. The prototype SCT (pSCT) is designed to achieve simultaneously the wide (≥ 8°) field of view and the superior imaging resolution (0.067 per pixel) to significantly improve scientific capabilities of the observatory in conducting the sky surveys, the follow-up observations of multi-messenger transients with poorly known initial localization and the morphology studies of x-ray sources with angular extent. In this submission, we describe the hardware and software implementations of the telescope optical system as well as the methods specifically developed to align its complex optical system, in which both primary and secondary mirrors are segmented. The pSCT has detected Crab Nebula in June 2020 during ongoing commissioning, which was delayed due to worldwide pandemic and is not yet completed. Verification of pSCT performance is continuing and further improvement of optical alignment is anticipated.
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; « less
Editors:
Marshall, Heather K.; Spyromilio, Jason; Usuda, Tomonori
Award ID(s):
1807029 1707432
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10311530
Journal Name:
Proceedings Volume 11445, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes VIII;
Volume:
11445
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Sasián, José ; Youngworth, Richard N. (Ed.)
    For the first time in the history of ground-based x-ray astronomy, the on-axis performance of the dual mirror, aspheric, aplanatic Schwarzschild-Couder optical system has been demonstrated in a 9:7-m aperture imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescope. The novel design of the prototype Schwarzschild-Couder Telescope (pSCT) is motivated by the need of the next-generation Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) observatory to have the ability to perform wide (>=8°) field-of-view observations simultaneously with superior imaging of atmospheric cascades (resolution of 0:067 per pixel or better). The pSCT design, if implemented in the CTA installation, has the potential to improve significantly both the x-ray angular resolutionmore »and the off-axis sensitivity of the observatory, reaching nearly the theoretical limit of the technique and thereby making a major impact on the CTA observatory sky survey programs, follow-up observations of multi-messenger transients with poorly known initial localization, as well as on the spatially resolved spectroscopic studies of extended x-ray sources. This contribution reports on the initial alignment procedures and point-spread-function results for the challenging segmented aspheric primary and secondary mirrors of the pSCT.« less
  2. Hallibert, Pascal ; Hull, Tony B. ; Kim, Daewook ; Keller, Fanny (Ed.)
    The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is the next-generation ground-based observatory for very-high-energy gamma rays. One candidate design for CTA's medium-sized telescopes consists of the Schwarzschild-Couder Telescope (SCT), featuring innovative dual-mirror optics. The SCT project has built and is currently operating a 9.7-m prototype SCT (pSCT) at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO); such optical design enables the use of a compact camera with state-of-the art silicon photomultiplier detectors. A partially-equipped camera has recently successfully detected the Crab Nebula with a statistical significance of 8.6 standard deviations. A funded upgrade of the pSCT focal plane sensors and electronics is currently ongoing,more »which will bring the total number of channels from 1600 to 11328 and the telescope field of view from about 2.7° to 8° . In this work, we will describe the technical and scientific performance of the pSCT.« less
  3. ABSTRACT We present a spectroscopic and imaging study of an abnormal active galactic nucleus (AGN), 2MASX J00423991 + 3017515. This AGN is newly identified in the hard X-rays by the Swift BAT All-Sky survey and found in an edge-on disc galaxy interacting with a nearby companion. Here, we analyse the first optical spectra obtained for this system (taken in 2011 and 2016), high-resolution imaging taken with the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory, and 1 imaging with the Very Large Array. Two unique properties are revealed: the peaks of the broad Balmer emission lines (associated with gas orbiting very near themore »supermassive black hole) are blueshifted from the corresponding narrow line emission and host galaxy absorption by 1540 km s−1, and the AGN is spatially displaced from the apparent centre of its host galaxy by 3.8 kpc. We explore several scenarios to explain these features, along with other anomalies, and propose that 2MASX J00423991 + 3017515 may be an AGN with an unusually strong wind residing in a uniquely configured major merger, or that it is an AGN recoiling from either a gravitational ‘slingshot’ in a three-body interaction or from a kick due to the asymmetric emission of gravitational waves following the coalescence of two progenitor supermassive black holes.« less
  4. ABSTRACT We present the first intensive continuum reverberation mapping study of the high accretion-rate Seyfert galaxy Mrk 110. The source was monitored almost daily for more than 200 d with the Swift X-ray and ultraviolet (UV)/optical telescopes, supported by ground-based observations from Las Cumbres Observatory, the Liverpool Telescope, and the Zowada Observatory, thus extending the wavelength coverage to 9100 Å. Mrk 110 was found to be significantly variable at all wavebands. Analysis of the intraband lags reveals two different behaviours, depending on the time-scale. On time-scales shorter than 10 d the lags, relative to the shortest UV waveband (∼1928 Å), increase with increasing wavelength up tomore »a maximum of ∼2 d lag for the longest waveband (∼9100 Å), consistent with the expectation from disc reverberation. On longer time-scales, however, the g-band lags the Swift BAT hard X-rays by ∼10 d, with the z-band lagging the g-band by a similar amount, which cannot be explained in terms of simple reprocessing from the accretion disc. We interpret this result as an interplay between the emission from the accretion disc and diffuse continuum radiation from the broad-line region.« less
  5. ABSTRACT The Fermi Large Area Telescope gamma-ray source 3FGL J2039.6–5618 contains a periodic optical and X-ray source that was predicted to be a ‘redback’ millisecond pulsar (MSP) binary system. However, the conclusive identification required the detection of pulsations from the putative MSP. To better constrain the orbital parameters for a directed search for gamma-ray pulsations, we obtained new optical light curves in 2017 and 2018, which revealed long-term variability from the companion star. The resulting orbital parameter constraints were used to perform a targeted gamma-ray pulsation search using the Einstein@Home-distributed volunteer computing system. This search discovered pulsations with a periodmore »of 2.65 ms, confirming the source as a binary MSP now known as PSR J2039–5617. Optical light-curve modelling is complicated, and likely biased, by asymmetric heating on the companion star and long-term variability, but we find an inclination i ≳ 60°, for a low pulsar mass between $1.1\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot } \lt M_{\rm psr} \lt $ 1.6 M⊙, and a companion mass of 0.15–$0.22\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$, confirming the redback classification. Timing the gamma-ray pulsations also revealed significant variability in the orbital period, which we find to be consistent with quadrupole moment variations in the companion star, suggestive of convective activity. We also find that the pulsed flux is modulated at the orbital period, potentially due to inverse Compton scattering between high-energy leptons in the pulsar wind and the companion star’s optical photon field.« less