Colloquium on 23 January 2014
MeerLICHT: Simultaneous optical-radio observations of astrophysical transients


Title: MeerLICHT: Simultaneous optical-radio observations of astrophysical transients
Speaker: Patrick Woudt
Date: Thursday, 23 January 2014
Time: 11:00 - 12:00
Venue: SAAO Auditorium


ThunderKAT is the MeerKAT Large Survey Project (LSP) for incoherent (synchrotron) radio transients. A nominal amount of 3000 h has been allocated for dedicated MeerKAT observations of X-ray binaries, tidal disruption events, cataclysmic variables, supernovae and gamma-ray bursts over the first five years of science operation of MeerKAT. In addition, ThunderKAT will make use of a dedicated ‘transient data spigot’ to search all MeerKAT LSP imaging data for astrophysical transients on time scales in excess of 0.1-1 sec, monitoring the transient radio universe in real time for unusual events (e.g. Fast Radi o Bursts, Thornton et al. 2013).

In this talk I will present details of the MeerLICHT project: time-scales, optical design and the primary science case for simultaneous optical-radio observations of astrophysical transients. MeerLICHT is the [simultaneous and real-time] optical extension of ThunderKAT’s commensal search for radio transients. The MeerLICHT telescope, to be housed in Sutherland, will be a fully robotic 0.65-m telescope with an instantaneous field of view of 2 square degrees, matching the field of view of MeerKAT. The telescope will receive its pointing input from the MeerKAT telescope, ensuring simultaneous optical-radio coverage for all night-time MeerKAT observations.

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