2010 August 5
What’s the plan between now and graduation? Here’s the simple view:
- Fall 2010: Cygnus X-3 paper
- Spring 2011: work on AGCTS fast-bright transient search; some kind of publication on my software efforts
- Fall 2011: have AGCTS FBTS submitted; job applications; begin work on AGCTS static map / slow-faint transient search
- Spring 2012: finish AGCTS SFTS
- If we detect a transient, we’ll almost definitely write a paper about it, especially if we detect it soon after it appears and not months after. If that happens, the schedule will change, but obviously I can’t predict how that all might play out.
- We don’t have a great idea about what venue would be best for a software-related publication, but there’s strong agreement that I should get something out there one way or another. The timing of this is pretty flexible, but the sooner it’s published, the more time there is for people to (hopefully) start adopting the work that I’ve done.
- The AGCTS fast-bright / slow-faint papers will be based on the same dataset. The former will be a somewhat cruder comparison of the night-to-night observations and a search for transients there. The latter will average down the data more and look for fainter, slower-evolving transients. This is the opposite approach taken by ATATS. I have two factors in mind here: first, it’ll be more exciting to find a ~week-timescale transient if we do find anything, and doing so is a high priority for the ATA. Secondly, with our target being the hard-to-image GC region, averaging together the longer datasets to get higher-quality images will probably be challenging and might offer a lot less improvement than we’d hope. So, we’ll try sacrificing some hypothetical sensitivity in favor of checking for exciting objects and dealing with imaging in a somewhat less demanding situation.
So the plan calls for four papers in two years, which is ambitious, although
- the software paper should be pretty easy and 2) I’ve been working on the Cyg X-3 project for a while now, and it’s intended to be a relatively small-bore effort.
What will I need to do for the science papers?
- Cyg X-3. Raw data are in hand, analysis pipeline is maybe 75% done. The full dataset needs to be crunched. We need to get the X-ray, gamma, and radio data into a single database and examine the behavior. We need to be on the lookout for another flare (happen every ~6 months) and get a bunch of good data when one happens. (Assuming that the next flare isn’t 3σ late.) Besides flare data, there are some physics questions to think about: can we constrain the gamma/radio delay to better than Fermi’s 5 ± 7 d? Can we say anything about the potential precession of the Cyg X-3 jet, and possibly the position of the radio emission in the system?
- AGCTS BFTS. Have a lot of data. The pipeline will share a lot with what’s developed for Cyg X-3; transient detection will take some work but can hopefully build on Steve’s experience with ATATS. The primary science question is: what is the rate of bright, ~weeklong Galactic radio transients? If we find any, we’ll look into them. We’ll discuss the calibration and analysis strategies needed for dealing with this complex field. That’s really about it. I’ll need to think about how to set upper rates for limits based on a null result (being pessimistic) and how to slice and dice along different sensitivity limits / integration times (following Bower+ 2008).
- AGCTS SFTS. Hopefully, this will build upon the analyzed data for the BFTS. Calibration will have to be more careful to push sensitivity limits. It will presumably be worthwhile to look at the static maps and think about what can be done with them scientifically. Other than that, the scientific analysis should be strongly similar to the previous paper.
Just gotta take care of those little things and I’m done!