Give Me a Few Hours: Exploring Short Timescales in Rubin Observatory Cadence Simulations

Eric C. Bellm, Colin J. Burke, Michael W. Coughlin, Igor Andreoni, Claudia M. Raiteri, Rosaria Bonito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The limiting temporal resolution of a time-domain survey in detecting transient behavior is set by the time between observations of the same sky area. We analyze the distribution of visit separations for a range of Vera C. Rubin Observatory cadence simulations. Simulations from families v1.5-v1.7.1 are strongly peaked at the 22 minute visit pair separation and provide effectively no constraint on temporal evolution within the night. This choice will necessarily prevent Rubin from discovering a wide range of astrophysical phenomena in time to trigger rapid follow-up. We present a science-agnostic metric to supplement detailed simulations of fast-evolving transients and variables and suggest potential approaches for improving the range of timescales explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society.


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