|Budget Amount *help
¥1,500,000 (Direct Cost: ¥1,500,000)
Fiscal Year 2003: ¥500,000 (Direct Cost: ¥500,000)
Fiscal Year 2002: ¥1,000,000 (Direct Cost: ¥1,000,000)
This research aims to understand the physics of active phenomena in astronomy, through observational study of "transient astronomical objects", which include optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts, X-ray transients harboring black holes, and cataclysmic variables. These objects show very rapid (tens of seconds to days) variations and are becoming a matter of contemporary astrophysical interest.
In recent years, these objects have been shown to exhibit unexpected variations even in the optical light. In this research, we undertook a comprehensive approach to develop a dedicated observing system for transient objects, to establish the analysis technique, and to maintain the world-wide network (VSNET) as a world center for transient object astronomy. We installed an automated dome in Kyoto University, and a 25-cm telescope and a CCD camera in Kyushu University. In combination with the existing apparatus, we succeeded to produce a rich scientific outcome, and published a great number of s
Representative scientific results include:
(1) We discovered giant, rapid optical variations in V4641 Sgr, the black-hole X-ray transient whose unique nature was first recognized by our discovery of a giant optical outburst in 1999. The discovery of rapid optical variations in this system has brought a possibility to directly "see" the neighborhood of a black hole.
(2) We published a Nature paper on GRB 030329, which was widely communicated in, domestic and international press materials. This burst brought a major turning point in modern research of gamma-ray bursts. The early observation and rapid release of information via VSNET greatly contributed to globally enhance the observation strategies of GRBs.
(3) We published a special issue (on VSNET) of the Publication of Astronomical Society of Japan. This issue included a review paper on the history, scientific achievements, and novel strategies to create VSNET. The issue also includes many original research papers. This is an epoch-making publication in the research history of transient objects, and will widely be referenced by the relevant researchers. Less