Michael Todd

Phone: (+61 4) 0708 9308


Start date

Mar 2010

Submission date

Michael Todd


Transient Astronomy using the 1-metre Zadko Telescope


Optical transients are objects that change brightness on timescales ranging from minutes to years. However most observations have been made from the Northern Hemisphere with the result that discoveries at southern declinations are far fewer in number than might be expected, assuming these optical transients should be uniformly distributed across all parts of the sky. For example, of 540 supernovae discoveries in the period January 1, 2008 to October 11, 2009 only 167 of these (30.9%) were found at southern declinations. A similar deficit in Gamma Ray Burst Optical Afterglow Science follow-up in the Southern Hemisphere has also been reported.

This project intends to utilise the 1.0-metre Zadko Telescope at Gingin, Western Australia, to search at southern declinations for some of these "missing" optical transients.

Why my research is important

Transient optical sources are found with some frequency at northern declinations but are detected with much lower frequency at southern declinations due to a selection bias resulting from the smaller number of telescopes in the Southern Hemisphere. The sensitivity of the Zadko Telescope combined with its geographic location puts it in a position to make a substantial contribution to science.