Deeper, Wider, Faster - Chasing the fastest transients
in the Universe
by Jeff Cooke (Swinburne Uni)
Abstract. Transient phenomena, such as supernovae and novae have been found that evolve over timescales of a few days to hundreds of days and span a large range of luminosities. However, a large number of transients are predicted on shorter timescales, such as fast radio bursts (FRBs), supernova shock breakouts, `bursty' and `dark' GRBs, kilonovae, counterparts to gravitational waves, and other exotic events, with a few having been serendipitously observed. This time domain has remained essentially unexplored largely a result of technological barriers. I will discuss our innovative Deeper, Wider, Faster (DWF) program that overcomes these obstacles by coordinating simultaneous deep, wide-field, fast-cadenced multi-wavelength observations with Parkes, Molonglo, the VLA, CTIO DECam, AST3 telescope (in the Antarctic), and NASA Swift space telescope, performs real-time (seconds) supercomputer data processing and analysis, and implements real-time transient identification using sophisticated visualisation technology. In addition, DWF obtains `flash' spectroscopy (minutes after transient identification) on the 8m Gemini telescope (and potentially Keck and the VLT) and deep spectroscopy on SALT and the AAT telescopes. Finally, DWF coordinates a network of telescopes, such as the SkyMapper, Zadko, ATCA, ESO REM, and MLO telescopes to perform simultaneous, interleaved, and later-time observations. In particular - in one shot - DWF will resolve the nature of FRBs by acquiring simultaneous, pre-, during, and post-densely-sampled multi-wavelength light curves of the event, localise the source, obtain minutes-later deep spectroscopy of the event itself and/or its host galaxy. DWF will fully explore the fast transient time domain, understand the multiple explosion mechanisms behind such rapid and luminous events, and likely uncover new and unexpected phenomena.