Small & Moderate Aperture Research Telescope System


The SMARTS Consortium operates four small telescopes (1.5-m1.3-m1.0-m and 0.9-m) on Cerro Tololo.  Membership in SMARTS is open to individuals or institutions, including international partners.

Science Highlights

  • Terrestrial planet found using microlensing: Astronomers, lead by SMARTS P.I. Andy Gould (O.S.U.), used the SMARTS 1.3-m + ANDICAM, along with data compiled from observatories around the world, to reveal the presence of a planet during a microlensing event. This exciting result was recently published in Science, v345, p46-49, 2014 . Abstract | Paper | Figures

  • The RECONS team has compiled a comprehensive-and growing-data base of every object in every system within 25 parsecs of the sun. See their video documenting their heroic efforts below. Video credit Adric Riedel.
  • Eric Mamajek (University of Rochester), Andreas Seifahrt (The University of Chicago) Jennifer Bartlett (U.S. Naval Observatory), Todd Henry (Georgia State University), et al used the SMARTS 0.9m telescope to measure the parallax for the third component in the Fomalhaut system, previously thought to have been a double star system. Press Release

  • Frederick Walter, along with Andrew Battisti and Sarah E. Towers (Stony Brook University) have created the Stony Brook / SMARTS Atlas of (mostly) Southern Novae. This atlas contains spectra and photometry obtained with SMARTS since 2003. Abstract | Paper | Atlas

  • Fabienne Bastien, Keivan Stassun and David Weintraub (Vanderbilt, Fisk) serendipitously observed V1647 Ori, an enigmatic eruptive young variable star, at different phases of its 2002-2003 and 2008-2009 outbursts.  They were able to catch several transient signals underneath the object's dramatic increase in brightness caused by a surge in the rate of accretion of circumstellar material.  Most notable is the detection of a short-term, but highly significant, 3 hour period that is consistent with a higher order pulsational mode of the star.  They posit that this period thus corresponds to stellar pulsations excited by the sudden increase in the accretion rate at the phase of the outburst during which they detect it. Abstract | Paper | Figures

  • Sure in the knowledge that the famous recurrent nova U Scorpii would have an upcoming eruption, Brad Schaefer (Louisiana State University) started a long series of eclipse timings with the SMARTS 0.9-m telescope at CTIO.  Schaefer found that the U Sco white dwarf is losing mass over time, and it will not become a Type Ia supernova. Abstract | Paper | Figure