The Remote Observatory for Variable Object Research (ROVOR) is a 16” RC Optical telescope sited 12 miles NW of Delta Utah. It was built to remotely monitor bright objects that vary with time such as variable stars, cataclysmic variables, and active galactic nuclei (AGN) including blazars, quasars, Seyfert nuclei and Low Ionization Nuclear Emission Regions (LINERS).
The standard model of AGN is a supermassive black hole surrounded by an accretion disk and a more extensive lower-density region that feeds material to the disk. The disk presumably brightens and dims as gas falls upon it and as dusty clouds orbiting around it obscure it from our view. Optical variability provides a measure of these effects and provides data that can be used to model the specific nature of different AGN.
ROVOR has also recently become a member of the GCN community - the Gamma-ray Burst Coordination Network - to monitor the activity of gamma-ray bursts. These bursts are extremely short energetic events that occur in distant galaxies. Even though ROVOR is not a gamma-ray detector, these bursts leave longer lasting afterglows that can be seen in the optical region of light. This is a new and exciting project for ROVOR.