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2015 Workshop

The needle in the haystack: Optical transient searches in the aLIGO era

10am-5pm, Wednesday, 15th April, 2015
Monash University, Clayton, Melbourne

The capability of world-wide optical transient search programs is growing thanks to increasing levels of automation. At the same time, the development of interferometric gravitational-wave detectors such as LIGO and Virgo promises to provide triggers for followup within the next few years. The likely imminent detection of gravitational waves provides additional motivation to identify optical counterparts in very large sky regions, and several projects are focussing on this opportunity.

One such project is the Gravitational-wave Optical Transient Explorer (GOTO), led by Warwick and Monash universities via the Monash-Warwick Alliance. A prototype instrument will be assembled and deployed this year, and a full-scale instrument is planned for observations from 2016.

This workshop will introduce the GOTO project, and we invite other researchers with an interest in gravitational wave sources and their electromagnetic counterparts, or optical transient searches in general, to attend and also present talks on their own research.

The workshop has now concluded, but you can view the presentations below, and also see some photos from the event.


30 min talk slots are nominally 25 min with 5 min for questions

Talk titles link to the presentations; see also the abstracts page

0930–1000welcome, registration, coffee
1000–1030Steeghs (Warwick) – the Gravitational-wave Optical Transient Explorer
1030–1100Thrane (Monash) – Advanced LIGO and the prospects for triggers
1130–1200Scalzo (ANU) - The SkyMapper Supernova Search: Infrastructure and Operations
1200–1230Petroff (Swinburne) - Finding Fast Radio Burst Progenitors
1230–1300Ulaczyk (Warwick) - The Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE)
1400–1430Yuan (RSAA/ANU) - Follow-up of GW candidates by Skymapper
1430–1500Bernard (U. Melbourne) - Finding ultra-fast optical transients with DECam
1530–1600Andreoni (Swinburne) - The first time-domain experiment with Swift: monitoring of seven nearby galaxies
1600–1630Glazebrook (Swinburne) - New remote telescope sites in Australia
1630–1700Galloway (Monash) - The next steps for GOTO and how you can get involved general discussion

The meeting will conclude with dinner from 1930 at Verona restaurant, Gateway on Monash, 630 Blackburn Road, Notting Hill, VIC, 3168.


The workshop will be held on Monash's Clayton campus, approximately 25 km south-east of Melbourne CBD.

The venue is room G29 on the ground floor of the New Horizons building, 20 Research Way (see the attached map)

Transport and parking

Monash's Clayton campus is accessible by public transport via Cranbourne/Pakenham train to Huntingdale station, and then the 601 shuttle bus to campus. However, if you must drive, there are ticketed parking areas which you can use. The cost is \$ 3.90 per hour, for a maximum of 3 hours.

The most convenient for the meeting venue is the W1 lot at the north-west of campus; see the map.


Wireless internet access will be available in the first instance via eduroam. If you are already able to connect to eduroam at your home or other institutions, there is a high probability that you will also be able to use it at Monash. If you have not used it before, you will need to request login credentials from your home institution before you arrive at Monash.

If you cannot connect to eduroam, your laptop will need to be authorised to use the guest-wireless facility. Please email your laptop's MAC address to as soon as possible.

Announcements & external links

Local Organising Committee

Duncan Galloway (chair)
Eric Thrane
Michael Brown

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Page last modified on April 30, 2015, at 06:37 AM