Synoptic Surveys: Boutique & Experiments

August 28 and 29
Hameetman Auditorium, Cahill Astrophysics, Caltech Campus, Pasadena, California

BACKGROUND: Surveys have many parameters: depth, cadence, choice of filters and choice of sky pointings. The purpose of this workshop is to critically examine the value of specialized surveys and then forecast the future of specialized surveys in coming decade.

"Boutique" surveys are surveys which deliberately make drastic choices (which could be rooted in financial issues or a deliberate focus of the PI) in the survey parameters (listed above). The ASAS (All Sky Automated Survey) and the on-going ASASSN (ASAS SN) are exemplars of a boutique survey. In the radio, the Owens Valley Long Wavelength Array (LWA) has a survey speed 50 times larger than that of LOFAR-LBA. All these projects are widely considered to be highly cost effective.

"Experiments" are imaging surveys which are focused on a single or a well defined goal. The CFHT Legacy Survey (CFHTLS) was focused strongly on Ia supernova cosmology and was considered to be an extremely successful survey. The Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) is focused on finding near-earth asteroids (NEOs) and the choice of filter (white light) and cadence is tuned for NEO discovery. CSS has, over nearly a decade, dominated the discovery of NEOs.

"Non TDA but Boutique" Well known examples of experiments are microlensing surveys and searches for planets via occultation. Non-time domain boutique surveys include Low Surface brightness surveys, Narrow-band surveys (Halpha, other neublar lines) and Polarization surveys.

In Projects we list an incomplete list of Boutiques and Experiments. See also Time Domain Resources for additional projects.

MEETING: There are two purposes for this meeting. First, one purpose of the meeting is to understand the role and value of smaller surveys once larger surveys get going. The proponents of large surveys (naturally) have been known to claim that large etendues make all other surveys superfluous. It may well be true but it would be good to have a nuanced and scholarly discussion.

The second purpose of the meeting is to explore new concepts or usages of time domain surveys. To aid this goal PIs will first describe the current status and future prospects of their surveys. We plan to have good discussion and brain storming to explore novel usages (e.g. comensal surveys, joint surveys). When this workshop was conceived there was a planned limit of 60 (so we could have lots of discussion) but the participants response was much stronger than anticipated. We have now extended the meeting to two full days (Friday& Saturday) so that there will be ample time for discussions.

There is no registration fee. However, we do need to know the head count accurately for finanical planning reasons. We are providing a nice ``notebook" and continental breakfasts, one dinner and refreshments.

Please note that the 2015 PTF Summer School precedes this meeting (August 24-27). You are welcome to attend that meeting (but then do please register etc). Also consult this workshop's URL for all matters logistics.

FINAL Agenda




Can be found here


The "proceedings" of the meeting is available, in the form of a "notebook", one week ahead of the meeting at this URL Each participant will be supplied with his/her own copy of the notebook (with your name written on the cover!). No other ``swag" will be provided. Please bring your own pens, pencils and erasers.

List of Participants

  1. [a] R. Adhikari, Caltech
  2. [a] M. Anderson, Caltech
  3. [a] T. Barclay, NASA-Ames
  4. [a] E. Bellm, Caltech
  5. [a] L. Bildsten, KITP, UC Santa Barbara
  6. [a] P. Bilgi, Caltech
  7. [a] T. Boroson, LCOGT
  8. [a] G. Bower, ASIAA-Hilo
  9. [a] S. Bradley Cenko, GSFC
  10. [a] Y. Cao, Caltech
  11. [a] R. Chari, IPAC
  12. [a] J. Cohen, Caltech
  13. [a] P. Copperthwaite, Harvard
  14. [a] D. Cook, WIRO to Caltech,
  15. [a] J. Cooke, Swinburne, Australia
  16. [a] L. D'Addorio, JPL
  17. [a] D. Duev, JIVE to Caltech
  18. [a] G. Duggan, Caltech
  19. [a] H. Flewelling, IfA
  20. [a] D. Frail, NRAO
  21. [a] S. Gezari, UMd
  22. [a] V. Giryanskaya, Caltech
  23. [a] G. Hallinan, Caltech
  24. [a] G. Helou, IPAC
  25. [a] L. Hillenbrand, Caltech
  26. [a] A. Ho, MPIA to Caltech
  27. [a] A. Horesh, Weizmann
  28. [a] A. Howell, LCOGT
  29. [a] P. Groot, Radboud, NL
  30. [a] J. Jensen, Caltech
  31. [a] M. Juric, UW/LSST
  32. [a] M. Kasliwal, Caltech
  33. [a] N. Kawai, Tokyo Tech, Japan
  34. [a] V. Kaspi, McGill University, Canada
  35. [a] R. Kirshner, Moore Foundation
  36. [a] N. Konidaris, Caltech
  37. [a] S. Kulkarni, Caltech
  38. [a] T. Kupfer, Radboud to Caltech
  39. [a] N. Law, UNC, Chapel Hill
  40. [a] J. Lazio, JPL
  41. [a] R. Lupton, Princeton
  42. [a] R. Lunnan, Harvard to Caltech
  43. [a] A. Mahabal, Caltech
  44. [a] N. Mahesh, UCLA
  45. [a] T. Matheson, NOAO
  46. [a] A. Miller, JPL
  47. [a] C. Mingarelli, Caltech
  48. [a] E. Murphy, IPAC
  49. [a] P. Nugent, LBNL
  50. [a] C. Ngeow, NCU, Taiwan
  51. [a] T. Pearson, Caltech
  52. [a] A. Piro, Carnegie
  53. [a] T. Prince, Caltech, UK
  54. [a] E. Quataert, UCB
  55. [a] R. Quimby, SDSU
  56. [a] V. Ravi, Melbourne to Caltech
  57. [a] A. Readhead, Caltech
  58. [a] A. Rest, STScI
  59. [a] G. Ricker, MIT
  60. [a] S. Ridgway, NOAO
  61. [a] J. Schwab, UCB
  62. [a] B. Sesar, MPIA, Germany
  63. [a] A. Shafter, SDSU
  64. [a] M. Shao, JPL
  65. [a] B. Shappee, Carnegie
  66. [a] P. Szkody, UW
  67. [a] P. van Dokkum, Yale
  68. [a] T. Vestrand, LANL
  69. [a] R. Walters, Caltech
  70. [a] S. Weinreb, JPL
  71. [a] A. Weinstein, Caltech
  72. [a] L. Yan, Caltech
  73. [a] A. Janzen, Caltech
a .. confirmed
* .. plan to attend
? .. hoping to come (subject only to logistics)
T .. unclear (misc)

J. Tonry, IfA-Manoa  |  K. Stanek, OSU  |  C. Stubbs, Harvard  |  D. Bhattacharya, IUCAA  |  M. van Kerkwijk, UToronto  |  M. Bailes  |  N. Gehrels  |  M. Ouchi  |  J. Kollmeier  |  A. Gould  |  C. Kochanek  |  ZTF-CSAC (remaining): Agueros (Columbia), Pinsonneault (OSU)  | 

List of Projects

The list below is particularly incomplete with respect to exoplanet projects.
  1. All-Sky Automated Search for Supernovae (ASAS-SN)
  2. Catalina Sky Survey (CSS)
  3. Catalina Real-Time Transient Survey (CRTS)
  4. Dark Energy Survey (DES)
  5. Evryscope
  6. Desert Fireball Network (DFN)
  7. Gaia Alerts
  8. Intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF)
  9. Kepler-2 (K2)
  10. KELT-South
  11. Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescopes (KELT-North)
  12. Kepler
  13. La Silla Quest
  14. Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST)
  15. MeerLICHT
  16. Near-Earth Objects via the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE)
  17. Optical Gravitation Lensing Experiment (OGLE)
  18. Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS)
  19. Pi of the Sky
  20. SkyMapper Southern Sky Survey
  21. Spacewatch
  22. Transneptunian Automated Occultation Survey (TAOS II)
  23. TESS
  24. Zwicky Transient Factory (ZTF)

  1. Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP)
  2. BRIght Target Explorer (BRITE)
  3. Exploring the X-ray Transient and variable Sky (EXTraS)
  4. Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope
  5. Gaia
  6. LOFAR
  7. Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO)
  8. LOFAR Transient Key Project
  9. Square Kilometer Array (SKA
  10. Swift X-Ray Obsrevatory
  11. ThunderKAT
  12. VLA Low Band Ionospheric and Transient Experiment (VLITE)
  13. LWA

Automated Planet Finder (APF)
Deep Lens Survey (DLS)
Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT)
Palomar-Quest Sky Survey (PQ)
Sentinel Mission (B612)
Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)
Missing: WASP et al, KMT Network,