The SALT/SAAO Transient Programme in the LSST Era

I will describe the status, results and future of the SALT transient follow-up program, which began in 2016 and will continue until at least 2021. This multi-partner high priority programme is awarded ~300 ksec per semester, with a significant fraction (>50%) given for the highest priority target of opportunity time. The programme studies transients across a wide range of classes, currently including (from closest to most distant): cataclysmic variables; novae and other associated eruptive variables; low and high mass X-ray binaries; OGLE and Gaia transients, including tidal disruption and black hole microlensing events; super-luminous and unusual core-collapse supernovae; multi-messenger transients (gravitational wave and neutrino events); flaring blazars, AGN and GRBs. South Africa’s support of LSST, through funding of PI Affiliate programmes, is described in context with the recent strategic decision to focus on key astronomy research areas, which includes transient astronomy. These plans include harnessing the many optical facilities at the SAAO into an “intelligent observatory”, for automated source followup studies, which will also involve the ThunderKAT transient programme on the MeerKAT radio telescope. These coordinated facilities are also planned to form a cornerstone of the proposed BRICS flagship programme on transient astronomy, to be developed over the coming decade, harnessing both existing and future multi-wavelength facilities within the BRICS countries.

David Buckley (SAAO)
KIAA 1st meeting room
Monday, June 24, 2019 - 12:00PM to Monday, June 24, 2019 - 1:00PM