Jeff Cooke (Swinburne University of Technology)
Friday 26 November
10:30 - 11:30
In this talk, I will first discuss the Deeper, Wider, Faster (DWF) program, an innovative all-wavelength program chasing the fastest bursts in the Universe. Fast transients with millisecond-to-hours durations are observed and predicted at all wavelengths, such as fast radio bursts (FRBs), supernova shock breakouts, GRBs and their afterglows, X-ray bursts, Type Ia supernova/companion star collisions, kilonovae, blitzars, and other exotic events, with most classes having no detections or a few serendipitous observations to date. DWF coordinates over 80 radio through gamma-ray telescopes and particle detectors located on every continent and in space to simultaneously gather deep, wide-field, fast-cadenced observations before, during, and after the fast events before they quickly fade. DWF performs real-time (seconds) data processing and transient identification to trigger rapid-response spectroscopy and imaging on program-coordinated 8m-class optical, radio, and high-energy telescopes and DWF coordinates later-time observations, as some fast transients are associated with longer-duration events (e.g., supernova shock breakouts). I will conclude by discussing the proposed Keck Wide-Field Imager (KWFI), a UV-sensitive optical (3000-10000A) imager that will be the most powerful wide-field imager in the world for the foreseeable future. KWFI will progress fast transient science, as well as nearly every other area of astronomy, from the solar system to the high redshift Universe, including radio, high-energy, and gravitational wave research. I will describe how KWFI, with its extreme depths and blue sensitivities (e.g., m ~ 28 in ~1-2 hrs) over wide fields, will enable science that cannot be done on any other telescope, including future 30m-class telescopes, and will provide deep photometry essential for upcoming facilities, such as the E-ELT, wide-field 10m-class spectrographs, gravitational wave detectors, and the JWST, Roman, and Euclid space missions.