Exploring the Time Domain with the Palomar-QUEST Sky Survey
ABSTRACT Discoveries in astronomy are often made through a systematic exploration of
previously poorly covered regions of the observable parameter space [1,2]. In
particular, exploration of the time variability on the sky over a broad range of
ux levels and wavelengths is rapidly becoming a new frontier of astronomical
research [3,4]. Many exciting astrophysical phenomena are known in the time
domain: all manner of variable stars, stellar explosions such as SNe and GRBs,
variable AGN, pulsars, microlensing events, etc. Yet undoubtedly many more
remain to be discovered.
A number of surveys and experiments exploring the time domain are already
in progress (see, e.g., [5,6] for listings), and even more ambitious synoptic sky
surveys are being planned, e.g., [7,8]. The important factors in such programs
are (1) the area covered, (2) the depth of coverage, (3) number of wavelengths
used, and (4) the baseline(s) in time.