10 July 2018 SALT and SAAO strategy, focusing on the time-domain: process, plans, and challenges
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Abstract
The South African astronomical community together with the international SALT community recently completed a process to detail a science strategy for SALT, the 10m international telescope that SAAO operates. After six years of science operations, the telescope is a very cost-effective large telescope science producer. The strategy was adopted by the SALT Board, and has already resulted in funding choices for the next stage of instrumentation. The SALT strategy intertwines with that of the SAAO and South African optical astronomy in general. This paper outlines the process followed, the main motivations and plans for the next stage, including risks and challenges. This paper in particular concentrates on the plans to making SAAO/SALT a major player in time domain astrophysics, one of three adopted strategic science focus areas. Plans include a novel design for a high-efficiency spectrograph serving transient follow-up, for which South Africa is well positioned; advanced software aiming to make the whole mountain-top operate as a single transient machine; feasibility studies into revolutionizing SALT observations by utilizing the primary mirror's hundreds of square degree size uncorrected field-of-view. Other SPIE papers in this meeting describe these and other developments at SALT and SAAO in more detail
Conference Presentation
© (2018) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Petri Väisänen, Lisa Crause, David Gilbank, David A.H. Buckley, Chris Coetzee, Steven M. Crawford, Stephen Potter, Retha Pretorius, Encarni Romero Colmenero, Ramotholo Sefako, Michael Shara, Amanda Sickafoose, and Theodore B. Williams "SALT and SAAO strategy, focusing on the time-domain: process, plans, and challenges", Proc. SPIE 10704, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VII, 107040A (10 July 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2313272; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2313272
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