PI: Mansi Kasliwal, Caltech Astronomy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: MS 105-24, Pasadena, CA, 91125, USA
CoI: Shri Kulkarni, Caltech Astronomy
Title: Transients in the Local Universe
Abstract: Two reasons motivate us to build a complete inventory of transients in the local universe (d < 200 Mpc). First, there exists a glaring six-magnitude luminosity gap between the brightest novae and faintest supernovae, especially on short timescales. Theorists predict a variety of mechanisms to produce transients in the gap and observers have the best chance of finding them in the local universe. Second, the budding fields of gravitational waves, neutrinos, UHECR and TeV astronomy are also limited to 200 Mpc either due to instrumental sensitivity or physical effects. The Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) systematically targets local galaxy-light concentrations ( 18000 galaxies) and is unique in depth (m < 21) and cadence (1-day). We present first results here. We also have a multi-wavelength follow-up program (Optical/NIR at Palomar/Keck, UV/X-ray with Swift). The most crucial information needed after discovery is the spectrum. A spectrum can help unambiguously identify a transient by revealing its distance, physical state and composition. Gemini's unique rapid response capability, queue scheduling and availability of a sensitive spectrograph at almost all times is ideally suited to this program. Here we propose for nine rapid-response target-of-opportunity triggers on the Gemini-South (4.5 hrs) and Gemini-North telescopes (3.5 hrs).
National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360