Narrator: This is Science Today. A robotic
telescope system called ROTSE, which was the first
to capture a gamma ray burst in action, is surprisingly
inexpensive compared to the standards of modern
science. James Wren of the Los Alamos National Laboratory
says everything on this system was pulled together
with off the shelf products.
Wren: The ROTSE system itself consists of
four Cannon telephoto lenses, two hundred millimeter
- just normal things you can put on your very own
camera and attached to those are CCD cameras which
are electronic cameras and they work just like a
normal camera. All the computers we use are normal,
store-bought desktop PCs.
Narrator: With such humble components, ROTSE
has proved to be a valuable tool for astronomers.
It has a wider field of vision than large telescopes
and can take about a thousand images a night of
Wren: And this data is very useful to astronomers
who are looking for objects that can change on time
scales that are short, as opposed to large observatories
which only look at a single region of sky sometimes
once every few weeks.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.