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Identifying Astrophysical Sub-Second Optical Flashes

Presentation #302.03 in the session Transients and Time-domain Astronomy.

Published onJul 01, 2023
Identifying Astrophysical Sub-Second Optical Flashes

The recent discovery of sub-second, bright, optical flashes that display a point-like nature in wide-field sky monitoring images has generated questions about their origin. Are they all generated by non-astrophysical sources? Or are some of the sub-second flashes of astrophysical origin? At Los Alamos National Laboratory, we are constructing a stereoscopic ranging system that employs high-speed CMOS cameras on identical, wide-field, telescopes deployed at two different, dark, high-altitude, observatory sites. One telescope is located near the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) at an elevation of 7,320 ft in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The other telescope is located at the Fenton Hill Observatory site in the Jemez mountains at an elevation of 8,720 ft. The baseline is almost due east-west; with an east-west length of 37.98 km and a north-south length of 1.33 km. This baseline combined with the resolving power of the telescopes will allow us to measure the parallax of ultra-fast optical flashes out to a range of 10x the distance of the moon. This, in turn, we will allow us to identify, on a flash-by-flash basis, foreground noise and conduct a search for ultra-fast, astrophysical, optical flashes.

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