The era of large-scale time-domain astronomical surveys has arrived. Projects such as the Catalina Sky Survey, the Palomar Transient Factory, and Pan-STARRS have demonstrated the tremendous scientific potential of the time domain. With the Zwicky Transient Facility and LSST not very far over the horizon, the scale of time-domain astronomy is set to grow exponentially. The volume and rate of alerts will be unprecedented and well beyond the ability of individual investigators to process. We will need to create a time-domain ecosystem, with software infrastructure to generate, validate, and filter alerts. In addition, we will need systems to schedule, coordinate, and analyze follow-up observations. An opportunity to develop this ecosystem has been enabled by an MSIP grant to Las Cumbres Observatory (LCOGT) that will provide public access to their global telescope network for seven semesters starting in 2017. In concert with other public facilities such as SOAR, Blanco, and Gemini, as well as public brokers and alert streams, one could develop a fully fledged time-domain follow-up system.
To prepare for this coming flood of time-domain data, NOAO and LCOGT will host a workshop on “Building the Infrastructure for Time-Domain Alert Science in the LSST Era” May 22-25, 2017 in Tucson. The first portion of the workshop will bring together astronomers and others working on a wide variety of technical issues related to time-domain alerts. The second part of the workshop will focus on the science that can be done with the LCOGT network. It will also begin the planning and implementation of a time-domain system infrastructure that can take advantage of the resources available now, but also lay the groundwork for the opportunities LSST will present.
The goal of the workshop is to produce, for NOAO, LCOGTGT, and the ground-based OIR system, a plan for development of the time-domain ecosystem infrastructure and science programs that can begin to take advantage of resources available now.
(An earlier version of this page referred to Las Cumbres Observatory by the acronym LCO. This has been updated to LCOGT to avoid confusion with Las Campanas Observatory.)