NUTTelA TAO:  A Fast-Response Telescope in Almaty For Observing the Transient Sky (Instrument Made in Kazakhstan)

NU and ECL staff automated a very fast 700 mm aperture telescope to respond to Astrophysical transients anywhere above the horizon within ≤ 8 seconds. We observe everything from the location of gravitational wave events to counterparts of fast radio bursts. Our main science project is optical measurements of gamma-ray bursts, an experiment to work out the emission mechanism of these, the universe’s most energetic cosmic explosions. This is the NU Transient Tel(escope) at Assy-Turgen Astrophysical Observatory (NUTTelA-TAO).

The NUTTelA-TAO system consists of three parts:  The telescope, the Burst Simultaneous Three-Chanel Instrument or camera (BSTI), and the automated fast-roof system. The BSTI is really three cameras in one, each measuring the same part of the sky in different bands at precisely the same time, sometimes called “hyperspectral imaging”.  This allows us to measure the shape of the emission spectrum at three different wavelengths, even for our fast transients. (Conventional astronomical cameras have one camera and a filter wheel that is moved between images; these cannot be used to measure rapidly-changing transient targets as they change too much between exposures, while the filter wheel is moving). The BSTI machining and optical assembly is 100% made in Kazakhstan by ECL scientists and engineers from the NU and ECL machine shops.