HATSouth is the world's first network of automated and homogeneous telescopes that is capable of year-round 24 hr monitoring of positions over an entire hemisphere of the sky. The primary scientific goal of the network is to discover and characterize a large number of transiting extrasolar planets, reaching out to long periods and down to small planetary radii. HATSouth achieves this by monitoring extended areas on the sky, deriving high precision light curves for a large number of stars, searching for the signature of planetary transits, and confirming planetary candidates with larger telescopes. HATSouth employs six telescope units spread over three prime locations with large longitude separation in the southern hemisphere (Las Campanas Observatory, Chile; HESS site, Namibia; Siding Spring Observatory, Australia). Each of the HATSouth units holds four 0.18 m diameter f=2:8 focal ratio telescope tubes on a common mount producing an 8:2° × 8:2° field of view on the sky, imaged using four 4 K×4 K CCD cameras and Sloan r filters, to give a pixel scale of 3:7″ pixel-1. The HATSouth network is capable of continuously monitoring 128 square arc degrees at celestial positions moderately close to the anti-solar direction. We present the technical details of the network, summarize operations, and present detailed weather statistics for the three sites. Robust operations have meant that on average each of the six HATSouth units has conducted observations on ~500 nights over a 2 years time period, yielding a total of more than 1 million science frames at a 4 minute integration time and observing ~10:65 hr day-1 on average. We describe the scheme of our data transfer and reduction from raw pixel images to trend-filtered light curves and transiting planet candidates. Photometric precision reaches ~6 mmag at 4 minute cadence for the brightest non-saturated stars at r ≈ 10:5. We present detailed transit recovery simulations to determine the expected yield of transiting planets from HATSouth. We highlight the advantages of networked operations, namely, a threefold increase in the expected number of detected planets, as compared to all telescopes operating from the same site.
|Number of pages||29|
|Journal||Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific|
|State||Published - Feb 2013|
- Color figures