The Young Supernova Experiment

The Young Supernova Experiment (YSE) is an optical survey using the PanSTARRS telescopes at the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii. YSE currently monitors 1500 square degrees of the Northern sky in down to ~21.5 mag in g, r, i, and filters at a 3 day cadence.

However, what really makes YSE special is its observing strategy. The YSE observations work in synergy with those of the public fields of the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) survey. YSE pointings are carefully chosen to overlap with those of ZTF, and the observations are ‘interweaved’, with YSE observing the same fields ~24 hours prior to ZTF but to approximately 1 magnitude deeper. This one-of-kind strategy creates a survey with an effective cadence of 1.5 days in the g and r bands (common filters to both surveys).

The depth, filter choices, and unique observing strategy of YSE open up whole new discovery spaces for transient science. As the name implies, YSE is poised to easily discover some of the youngest supernovae (within hours to days of explosion), whilst also probing extremely red transient discovery spaces. The high quality, multi-band PanSTARRS imaging for every transient with allow for exotic transients to be studied in depth, alongside providing large samples or canonical transients with high fidelity data sets for population studies.

You can read more about the capabilities of YSE here.  The unique observing strategy of  YSE led to the early identification of the fast rising Tidal Disruption Event, AT2020neh.

The Dark Energy Survey

The Dark Energy Survey (DES) is an optical-near infrared photometric survey in the Southern hemisphere which combines four complimentary sciences (galaxy clusters, weak gravitational lensing tomography, galaxy angular clustering, and supernova distances) to probe the nature of dark energy.

To do this, DES uses the Blanco 4-m telescope at the Cerro Telolo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) to image 5000 square degrees of the Southern sky down to ~24th magnitude in g, r, i, z and Y bands. The camera used to do this, DECam, has a field of view of 2.7 square degrees and contains 62 red-sensitive science CCDs.

These red-sensitive CCDs make DES ideal for finding very distant supernovae (i.e. at high redshift). I have been involved with the DES supernova program (DES-SN), which scans 10 DECam fields with a cadence of approximately 7 days in g, r, i, z  bands.  This program is designed primarily to search for high redshift SNe-Ia to use for cosmology.

However, DES-SN also finds thousands of other interesting transient events, including Superluminous Supernovae.