Workshop report

"Paving the way to simultaneous multi-wavelength astronomy"
13th-17th July 2015


Organizers: Piergiorgio Casella, Poshak Gandhi, Matthew Middleton


The workshop entitled "Paving the way to simultaneous multi-wavelength astronomy" ran at the Lorentz Center (Oort) from the 13th-17th July 2015. Briefly the aims of the workshop were to establish means to facilitate multi-wavelength observing of sources which varied on relatively short (< day) timescales and emitted across orders of magnitude in wavelength. The lack of such observational strategies prevents an understanding of coupled emission for example in the jets in black hole binary systems. The meeting brought together high level mission scientists and instrument PIs (with representation from ESO, NuSTAR, Chandra, XMM-Newton, Swift, FERMI, ASTROSAT, Astro-H, eROSITA, JWST, Gaia, MWA, LoFAR, LSST, CTA, NRAO, Spitzer, SALT and other ground based telescopes), senior scientists working in the field and theorists, and was consequently unique in its format and scope.


In order to make progress on such an important and complicated topic, the workshop took the form of a series of short (~30 mins) invited talks with associated question and discussion time. The talks followed the logical progression of 'sources under discussion', 'present instrumentation', 'techniques' and 'forthcoming instruments'. Three strategy sessions provided opportunity for whole-workshop discussion and to address the issues central to the meeting. The details of the motivation, the obstacles and potential solutions will be presented in a forthcoming community white paper where all of the attendees will be co-authors. The key issues for the white paper were reinforced via sub-group discussions.


The format of the workshop was relatively unique given the breadth of discussion necessary to make progress. We found that the combination of the talks, discussion and pivotally, the range and experience of the attendees, lead to a successful and fruitful meeting. In particular, the contributions from NASA and ESA mission directors was invaluable and has informed our future goals of multi-lateral observing; notably, the possibility of discovering and triggering observations of new transients found in proprietary data was discussed and is also expected to be implemented within the observational framework of ESA's next generation mission, Athena.


Central to the workshop discussions was the issue of communication and how this could often be extremely difficult when attempting to coordinate observations between instruments. Whilst networks for studies of supernovae and gamma-ray bursts exist, none yet exist for coordinating many instruments for compact object accretion or general transients. We have formally created a network (named SMARTNet: to better facilitate such observing and hope to build on this solid foundation.