IRiS (Initiation à la Recherche en Astronomie pour les scolaires, Initiation to Research in Astronomy for Schools) is a robotic telescope that was installed in 2013 on the site of the Observatoire de Haute de Provence, France in order to allow the discovery of the transient sky, while offering the opportunity to discover modern observational techniques.
The telescope is a Ritchey-Chrétien type telescope with a diameter of 50 cm mounted on a German type mount and equipped with a focal plane composed of a camera equipped with an E2V 42-40 sensor (2kx2k), a filter wheel and filters (SDSS u, g, r, i, z, as well as narrow bands centred on the H-alpha and OIII lines).
The entire telescope and its equipment can be fully controlled remotely in order to follow-up automatically interesting transients or performs a series of targeted exposures of known galaxies to find optical counterpart of gamma-ray bursts, gravitational waves and neutrino events.
In addition a web interface gives access to all the environmental data related to the observatory (AllSky camera, weather station, seeing monitor, etc.).
IRiS is a real educational program to provide to students from college to Master’s level privileged access to a telescope whose operating mode and technical characteristics, aside from its diameter, are very similar to the telescopes currently used by professional astronomers.
Stéphane Basa (LAM), Auguste le Van Suu (OHP), David Corre (LAM)
Several partners are involved in the project:
- Labex OCEVU (project management, telescope financing, etc.).
- Labex FOCUS (financing of the camera).
- Paris Observatory (infrastructure financing).
- Science at the School (financing of computer licences, small equipment, etc.).
LAM and Observatoire de Haute-Provence/OSU-Pytheas play an essential role in the project by providing the necessary human resources for the implementation and maintenance of the system, as well as its hosting.