ULTRASAT: A wide-field time-domain UV space telescope
The Ultraviolet Transient Astronomy Satellite (ULTRASAT) is scheduled to be launched to geostationary orbit in 2026. It will carry a telescope with an unprecedentedly large field of view (204 deg$^2$) and NUV (230-290nm) sensitivity (22.5 mag, 5$\sigma$, at 900s). ULTRASAT will conduct the first wide-field survey of transient and variable NUV sources and will revolutionize our ability to study the hot transient universe: It will explore a new parameter space in energy and time-scale (months long light-curves with minutes cadence), with an extra-Galactic volume accessible for the discovery of transient sources that is $>$300 times larger than that of GALEX and comparable to that of LSST. ULTRASAT data will be transmitted to the ground in real-time, and transient alerts will be distributed to the community in $<$15 min, enabling a vigorous ground-based follow-up of ULTRASAT sources. ULTRASAT will also provide an all-sky NUV image to $>$23.5 AB mag, over 10 times deeper than the GALEX map. Two key science goals of ULTRASAT are the study of mergers of binaries involving neutron stars, and supernovae: With a large fraction ($>$50%) of the sky instantaneously accessible, fast (minutes) slewing capability and a field-of-view that covers the error ellipses expected from GW detectors beyond 2025, ULTRASAT will rapidly detect the electromagnetic emission following BNS/NS-BH mergers identified by GW detectors, and will provide continuous NUV light-curves of the events; ULTRASAT will provide early (hour) detection and continuous high (minutes) cadence NUV light curves for hundreds of core-collapse supernovae, including for rarer supernova progenitor types.
- Pub Date:
- April 2023
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- 40 pages, 16 figures, 3 tables. Submitted to the AAS journals