SKA-India Transients Science Working Group

Square Kilometre Array
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During Astronomical Society of India meeting 2014 in IISER, Mohali , a one day workshop titled "Science with the SKA" was held in IISER Mohali on 19 March 2014 to discuss possible science activities within India which would be appropriate preparation for doing science with the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), when it is ready. One of the major outcomes of the meeting was the formation of SKA-India Consortium and its science working groups (SWGs). A SWG for SKA-India transients was also formed.

Transient radio sources are compact and usually are the locations of explosive or dynamic events, therefore offering unique opportunities for probing the fundamental physics. In addition, short-duration transients are powerful probes of intervening media owing to dispersion, scattering and Faraday rotation. While radio astronomy is quite advanced in obtaining high time resolution, usually it is achieved in quite narrow fields of view. Consequently, the dynamic radio sky is poorly sampled, in contrast to the situation in the X-ray and gamma-ray bands. The SKA has the potential to change this situation, opening up new parameter space in the search for radio transients. For this reason transients are one of the major science goals of SKA, in addition to Astrobiology (“The Cradle of Life”), Galaxy Evolution -- Continuum, Cosmic Magnetism, Cosmology, Epoch of Reionisation and the Cosmic Dawn , Galaxy Evolution -- HI, and Pulsars ("Strong field tests of gravity'').

The SKA will be roughly contemporaneous with other International facilities like Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) etc. in optical/IR bands and next generation successors of Swift, Chandra and XMM-Newton in the gamma-ray and X-ray bands such as Space Variable Objects Monitor (SVOM), Square Meter Arcsecond-Resolution Telescope for X-rays (SMART-X) and ATHENA missions. Therefore, multiwaveband observational efforts with wide fields of view will be the key to progress of transients astronomy from the middle 2020s offering unprecedented deep images and high spatial and spectral resolutions. Indian astronomers with wide ranging experience of low frequency radio astronomy in a variety of astronomical phenomena and targets would be particularly well-placed to pursue time critical transient objects with SKA and observatories at other bands.