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Volumetric Survey Speed: A Figure of Merit for Transient Surveys

Bellm, Eric C. (2016) Volumetric Survey Speed: A Figure of Merit for Transient Surveys. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 128 (966). Art. No. 084501. ISSN 0004-6280.

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Time-domain surveys can exchange sky coverage for revisit frequency, complicating the comparison of their relative capabilities. By using different revisit intervals, a specific camera may execute surveys optimized for discovery of different classes of transient objects. We propose a new figure of merit, the instantaneous volumetric survey speed, for evaluating transient surveys. This metric defines the trade between cadence interval and snapshot survey volume and so provides a natural means of comparing survey capability. The related metric of areal survey speed imposes a constraint on the range of possible revisit times: we show that many modern time-domain surveys are limited by the amount of fresh sky available each night. We introduce the concept of "spectroscopic accessibility" and discuss its importance for transient science goals requiring followup observing. We present an extension of the control time algorithm for cases where multiple consecutive detections are required. Finally, we explore how survey speed and choice of cadence interval determine the detection rate of transients in the peak absolute magnitude–decay timescale phase space.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Bellm, Eric C.0000-0001-8018-5348
Additional Information:© 2016 The Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Received 2016 February 10; accepted 2016 April 18; published 2016 June 23. The author thanks Shri Kulkarni, Tom Prince, Eran Ofek, Paul Groot, and the anonymous referee for conversations and suggestions that improved this work.
Subject Keywords:methods: observational – telescopes
Issue or Number:966
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160729-152339380
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:69333
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:29 Jul 2016 22:57
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 10:21

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