eSTAR deployment

Lead Research Organisation: UNIVERSITY OF EXETER
Department Name: Physics


An increasing number of telescopes can be accessed via the internet, allowing observations to be requested remotely. This gives us the possibility that observations could be requested by computers, who could them assess the resulting data, and make intelligent decisions about what follow-up observations should be made. The eSTAR project has pioneered such a 'thinking telescope network', and created a test network which has carried out some scientific programmes. Here we are applying to enlarge the network, and the range of science it carries out, to make it easily usable tool for astronomers.


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Bachelet E (2012) A brown dwarf orbiting an M-dwarf: MOA 2009-BLG-411L in Astronomy & Astrophysics

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Batista V (2011) MOA-2009-BLG-387Lb: a massive planet orbiting an M dwarf in Astronomy & Astrophysics

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Gaudi BS (2008) Discovery of a Jupiter/Saturn analog with gravitational microlensing. in Science (New York, N.Y.)

Description The eSTAR system is an "intelligent" system which looks at the results of astronomical observations, and uses that information to decide what observations to take next. Prior to this grant we had shown that such a system could work in a very limited way, the aim of this grant was to deploy eSTAR to carry out observations and show it could undertake cutting-edge science.

This worked well with (i) a significant contribution to microlensing-based searches for planets outside our solar system, and (ii) a crucial observation in the discovery of the most distant object discovered to date.
Exploitation Route The work links into a more general theme of intelligent agents, software entities which make rule-based real-time decisions.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)

Description I used eSTAR in several popular astronomy talks as an example of automation was becoming increasingly important in astronomy.
First Year Of Impact 2007
Impact Types Cultural

Title IVOA standards 
Description This proposal also contributed significantly to International Virtual Observatory Alliance Standards (see IVOA Recommendation: SAMP - Simple Application Messaging Protocol Version 1.3 and IVOA Recommendation: Sky Event Reporting Metadata Version 2.0). 
Type Of Material Data handling & control 
Year Produced 2009 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The standards are being used by other research groups