July 13 - 17 2015
SOC: M. Middleton, P. Casella, P. Gandhi
LOC: Lorentz Center
Observations of astrophysical systems and phenomena in multiple wavelength bands, or 'multi-wavelength (MW) astronomy', has led to some of the most important results in astrophysics and has revealed information otherwise hidden from view when looking in a narrow energy range.
Studying systems, which emit over several orders of magnitude in energy, necessitates the combination of ground based (radio/mm/optical/IR/VHE) and space based (optical-UV/IR/X-ray/VHE) instruments. Due to scheduling demands, observations in multiple bands are typically days-weeks apart; such coordinated, but non-simultaneous observations, of systems that change on shorter timescales are therefore prone to be misleading. Such rapidly variable systems include the jets and accretion flows from smaller compact objects such as stellar mass black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs which change on viscous timescales of minutes, dynamical changes (of the order of hours) in AGN, the jets from T-Tauri proto-stellar objects and accreting stars, and dense environments around luminous systems which are causally linked. In all cases, without a truly simultaneous MW picture of these systems, we are denied an understanding of the physical mechanisms that underpin them.
At present there is no simple solution to the problem of simultaneous MW observing yet the relevance of the scientific questions makes it crucial for the community to find one. This may take the form of a new strategy for MW observing which could be adopted by a large number of observatories (both ground and spaced based) or may require a more extreme solution and a bespoke MW mission. Consideration of the latter is both important and timely; whilst a great deal of attention is focussed on next-generation single band-pass observatories, technology (e.g. mechanical cooling in place of cryogenic cooling) is now developed to the point where a dedicated MW satellite is not only possible but is the natural next step in observational astronomy. We propose to hold a focussed workshop at the Lorentz centre (@Oort) in mid-late 2015 to bring together leading senior scientists working in theory, observation and instrumentation. The aim is to discuss and identify the community's future requirements based on recent discoveries and progress in MW astronomy, and how these can best be served by a concerted effort to unify strategies or complemented by a new, next-generation MW satellite.
There will be no registration fee. Lunch and conference dinner is courtesy of the Lorentz Center. Participation is by invitation only.
Image credit: 1) ASTROSAT; 2) NASA 3) Cen A (NASA/NRAO/DSS); 4) Link; 5) GX 339-4 (NASA/JPL/WISE/Gandhi); 6) SN 1987A (CfA/SINS); 7) Link; 8) HH30 (STScI); 9) LSST