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Paper: Raptor–Mining the Sky in Real Time
Volume: 312, Third Rome Workshop on Gamma-Ray Bursts in the Afterglow Era
Page: 524
Authors: Galassi, M.; Borozdin, K.; Casperson, D.; McGowan, K.; Starr, D.; White, R.; Wozniak, P.; Wren, J.
Abstract: The primary goal of Raptor is ambitious: to identify interesting optical transients from very wide field of view telescopes in real time, and then to quickly point the higher resolution Raptor "fovea" cameras and spectrometer to the location of the optical transient. The most interesting of Raptor's many applications is the real-time search for orphan optical counterparts of Gamma Ray Bursts.

The sequence of steps (data acquisition, basic calibration, source extraction, astrometry, relative photometry, the smarts of transient identification and elimination of false positives, telescope pointing feedback...) is implemented with a "component" approach. All basic elements of the pipeline functionality have been written from scratch or adapted (as in the case of SExtractor for source extraction) to form a consisten modern API operation on memory resident images and source lists. The result is a pipeline which meets our real-time requirements and which can easily operate as a monolithic or distributed processing system.

Finally: the Raptor architecture is entirely based on free software (sometimes referred to as "open source" software). In this paper we also discuss the interplay between various free software technologies in this type of astronomical problem.

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