The All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae

Dr. Ben Shappee (Carnegie)
April 25, 2017 - 4:00pm

Abstract

For the first time, the entire visible sky is being surveyed for the violent, variable, and transient events that shape our universe.  To accomplish this, my collaborators and I built the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN), which is a long-term project to monitor the whole sky, at a high cadence, using a global network of robotic telescopes.  The primary goal of ASAS-SN is to find the closest and brightest supernovae (SNe) with an unbiased search: ASAS-SN now discovers about two-thirds of all bright (V<17 mag) supernovae.  These nearby supernovae are critical in studying the physical nature of their progenitor systems because we can study them in unprecedented detail across the electromagnetic spectrum which cannot be done for their more distance counterparts.  Additionally, this systematic all-sky technique also allows ASAS-SN to discover many other interesting galactic and extragalactic transients. During this talk, I will give an overview of the ASAS-SN survey and highlight some of our more interesting discoveries that have been made during my time at Carnegie.  These discoveries include ASASSN-15lh, likely the most luminous supernovae ever discovered; ASASSN-14lp, one of the earliest observed Type Ia supernovae; ASAS-SN16ae, the largest (Delta V > 11 mag) and second-ever L-dwarf flare; and ASASSN-14ae, ASASSN-14li, and ASASSN-15oi, the three brightest tidal disruption events discovered in the optical. These discoveries, however, are just the beginning.  In 2017 ASAS-SN will more than double in size, allowing us to survey the visible entire sky with better than a daily cadence while being more resistant to weather.