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Automated Polarimetry with Smaller Aperture Telescopes: The ROVOR Observatory

Department of Physics and Astronomy, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA
Salt Lake Community College, 4600 South Redwood Road, Salt Lake City, UT 84123, USA
Department of Engineering, University of Idaho, 995 University Blvd #225A, Idaho Falls, ID 83401, USA
Department of Physical Science, Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT 84720, USA
Department of Physics, Metropolitan State University of Denver, 890 Auraria Parkway, Denver, CO 80204, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Emmanouil Angelakis, Markus Boettcher and Jose L. Gómez
Galaxies 2017, 5(4), 70;
Received: 13 September 2017 / Revised: 9 October 2017 / Accepted: 11 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polarised Emission from Astrophysical Jets)
PDF [697 KB, uploaded 23 October 2017]


To better understand possible blazar jet mechanisms and morphologies, brighter prototypical objects are regularly monitored for variability in optical broad-band light. If the monitoring filters are polarized, the position angles and polarization percentages can be measured and their evolution monitored over time. However, building up a statistically significant time base of polarization parameters requires the arduous task of monitoring sources for months or years to catch and follow interesting events such as flares. Fortunately, monitoring an object is easily done using remotely operated or robotic telescopes. The Remote Observatory for Variable Object Research (ROVOR) is a small-aperture telescope that has monitored blazars in broad-band Johnson filters since 2009. Calibration data using a set of four plane-polarized filters suggest that it is suitable for polarimetric monitoring as well. We have successfully collected data on CTA 102 and are encouraged at the prospects of monitoring it and other similar objects. Long-term monitoring campaigns are a scientifically and educationally-effective use of underutilized smaller-aperture telescopes. View Full-Text
Keywords: blazar; monitoring; polarization blazar; monitoring; polarization
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Moody, J.; Whipple, P.; Hindmann, L.; Van Alfen, N.; Barnes, J.; Ducharme, N.A.; Rivest III, L.J.; Osborne, M.D.; Holden, M.; Pace, C.; Pearson III, R.L.; Little, B.; Hintz, E. Automated Polarimetry with Smaller Aperture Telescopes: The ROVOR Observatory. Galaxies 2017, 5, 70.

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