Aims are to create infrastructure and software to use worldwide network of radio telescopes and follow-up facilities as a global transients network. Staff: Rob Fender, Anna Scaife Postdocs: Jess Broderick, Teo Munoz Darias, Tim Staley, Tom Hassall, Rene Breton PhDs: Gosia Pietka, Adam Stewart + 2 more in 2012 + 500kEuro 'telescope time' money
campaigns) variable / high-energy astrophysical phenomena e.g. jets from black hole X-ray binaries, supernovae • To search both commensally1 and in a targeted way for new radio transients, and to classify / identify and report on these as rapidly as possible (1symbiotic relationship in which one species derives some benefit while the other is unaffected)
targets (e.g. BHXRB undergoing ~1 yr active phase) • Target of opportunity observations (a limited number of) which can override existing observing blocks to varying degrees Time award ~2.5 hr per day, for five years • A 'spigot' which continuously dumps (semi-)calibrated visibilities on a timescale of 1 sec into a machine (provided by ThunderKAT) to look for transients, during all observing programs (i.e. commensal aspect)
ThunderKAT spigot ThunderKAT system Imaging (cluster) Source finding Analysis ≤1 sec cycles Report if interesting Data rate for full f.o.v. and full b/w ~700 Mb/sec Collaborators / outside world (via e.g. VOEventNet) Rate estimate ≥ 1 day-1
GHz ~200m longest baseline → arcmin resolution Construction finished earlier this year Test/commissioning observations now taking place MeerKAT will have 20 dishes deployed by mid-2013 (ultimately 64 dishes)
multiλ collaboration to ThunderKAT system ( Richard Armstrong) → • KAT-7 science: we could use KAT-7 to test observations of variable sources, test rapid response systems and produce publishable science (e.g. Circinus X-1, most relativistic jet source in the galaxy)
SKY) MeerKAT (and ASKAP) are embracing transients science as well – with very similar goals and methods (but subtly different targets) KAT-7 is already taking scientifically interesting data... (in fact more observations took place this morning [simultaneous with ATCA]) … and is very interested in strong links with LOFAR Transients KSP.