SO Webloquio: Exploring the transient radio sky with the SKA and its precursors

Radio astronomical observations probe particle acceleration in some of the most extreme environments in the Universe. For example, we can trace the relativistic jets produced by accreting black holes; observe flashes from hyper-magnetised neutron stars; and study the aftermath of stars that are ripped to shreds as they pass close to super-massive black holes. These events provide critical information about the extremes of the Universe, but they are also rare and ephemeral. Thus, catching these spectacular events in the act requires radio telescopes that can monitor how the sky changes on timescales ranging from nanoseconds to years. Furthermore, the ability to monitor a large fraction of the sky, with high sensitivity, is key to discovering new phenomena. In this talk, I will describe how time-domain radio astronomy is contributing to our understanding of the Universe, e.g. through the recent discovery of fast radio bursts and other enigmatic transient radio signals. I will show how the current generation of radio telescopes have opened new vistas and set the stage for the Square Kilometre Array - an observatory whose unprecedented capabilities will surely enable the discovery of fascinating transient phenomena.

24/02/2022 - 12:30
Dr Jason Hessels
University of Amsterdam & ASTRON