The ultra-violet/optical telescope of the Swift MIDEX mission

Peter W.A. Roming, Leisa K. Townsley, John Andrew Nousek, Peter F. Altimore, Traci Case, S. D. Hunsberger, T. Scott Koch, Keith O. Mason, Mary J. Carter, Mark S. Cropper, Barry K. Hancock, Howard E. Huckle, Tom E. Kennedy, Michael K. McLelland, Kelly Smith, Ronnie Killough, Cheng Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The Swift MIDEX mission is the first-of-its-kind observatory for multi-wavelength transient astronomy. The goal of the mission is to ascertain the origin of gamma-ray bursts and to utilize these bursts to probe the early universe. The Ultra-Violet/Optical Telescope (UVOT) is one of three telescopes flying aboard Swift. The UVOT is a working `copy' of the Optical Monitor on the X-ray Multi-mirror Mission (XMM-Newton). It is a Ritchey-Chretien telescope with microchannel plate intensified charged-coupled devices (MICs) that provide sub-arcsecond imaging. These MICs are photon-counting devices, capable of detecting very low signal levels. When flown above the atmosphere, the UVOT will have the equivalent sensitivity of a 4 m telescope on the ground, reaching a limiting magnitude of 24 for a 1000 second observation in the white light filter. A rotating filter wheel contains sensitive photometric broadband UV and visual filters for determining photometric redshifts. The filter wheel also contains UV and visual grisms for performing low-resolution spectroscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-86
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 13 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'The ultra-violet/optical telescope of the Swift MIDEX mission'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this