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SALT and SAAO strategy, focusing on the time-domain: process, plans, and challenges
Author(s): 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; Theodore B. Williams
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Paper 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

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 July 2018
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 10704, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VII, 107040A (10 July 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2313272
Show Author Affiliations
Petri Väisänen, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
Southern African Large Telescope (South Africa)
Lisa Crause, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
Southern African Large Telescope (South Africa)
David Gilbank, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
David A.H. Buckley, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
Chris Coetzee, Southern African Large Telescope (South Africa)
Southern African Large Telescope (South Africa)
Steven M. Crawford, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
Southern African Large Telescope (South Africa)
Stephen Potter, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
Retha Pretorius, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
Univ. of Cape Town (South Africa)
Encarni Romero Colmenero, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
Southern African Large Telescope (South Africa)
Ramotholo Sefako, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
Michael Shara, American Museum of Natural History (United States)
Amanda Sickafoose, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Theodore B. Williams, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10704:
Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VII
Alison B. Peck; Robert L. Seaman; Chris R. Benn, Editor(s)

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