Seminar Series

The All Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae

Benjamin Shappee, The Ohio State University

21 Nov 2013 - 15:30

Even in the modern era, only human eyes survey the entire optical sky for the violent, variable, and transient events that shape our universe. To change this, my collaborators and I have built and implemented the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN).  This is a long-term project designed to monitor the extragalactic sky every 2-3 days using multiple telescopes, hosted by Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, in the northern and southern hemispheres. Our telescopes consist of commercially available telephoto lenses and CCDs so we are easily scalable. The primary focus of the survey is to find nearby supernovae (SNe) and other transient sources. We began running our real-time search for variable sources in late April 2013 with our first unit, "Brutus".  In this short time, ASAS-SN has already found 13 bright nearby SNe and outbursts from 100+ cataclysmic variable stars, 15+ M-dwarfs, young stellar objects (YSO), and AGN.  I will focus on two ASAS-SN discoveries. The first is one of the most extreme M-dwarf flares ever detected (delta V~9 mag). The second is an outburst from NGC 2617, which follow up observations found went through a dramatic AGN flare, during which its X-ray flux increased by over an order of magnitude followed by an increase of its optical/ultraviolet (UV) continuum flux by almost an order of magnitude.  Interestingly, follow up spectra found that NGC 2617 has also changed its Seyfert Type in the past decade. ASAS-SN is an ongoing survey which, judging by its current success and future expansion, promises to be prolific for years to come.

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