Exploring the Time Domain with the Palomar-QUEST Sky Survey


Exploration of the time variability on the sky over a broad range of flux levels and wavelengths is rapidly becoming a new frontier of astronomical research. We describe here briefly the Palomar-QUEST survey being carried out from the Samuel Oschin 48-inch Schmidt telescope at Palomar. The following features make the survey an attractive candidate for studying time variability: anticipated survey area of 12,000 - 15,000 sq. degrees in the drift scan mode, point source depth of 21st mag. in I under good conditions, near simultaneous observations in four filters, and at least four passes per year at each location covered. The survey will yield a large number of transients and highly variable sources in the near future and in that sense is a prototype of LSST and Pan-STARRS. We briefly outline our strategy for searching such objects and the proposed pipeline for detecting transients in real-time.