The Start of ePESSTO+

PESSTO has now reached its second extension and another chapter with a new management (PI Cosimo Inserra) has started.

The “advanced” extended Public ESO Spectroscopic Survey of Transient Objects (ePESSTO+) was approved with an initial 1.5 year Large Programme by the ESO OPC starting in April 2019. From Period 103 we were approved to continue our spectroscopic survey as ePESSTO+. The operational mode of around 10N per month over 9 - 10 lunations during the year will continue and we will continue to provide immediate public classifications and classification spectra through the new Astronotes system, the IAU Transient Name Server and WiSeREP.

The scientific focus of ePESSTO+ leans towards exploring new exciting transient populations. We will expand the scientific focus to include gravitational wave sources, transients that evolve on the timescale of a few days and do not resemble any common class of extragalactic transient, as well as those with extreme energetics.
Superluminous supernovae are still a major focus along with unusual transients situated far (tens of kiloparsecs) from their host galaxies and transients in low-luminosity hosts. Gamma ray bursts and transients associated with fast radio bursts triggers will also be a major line of investigation.

Son of Xshooter (SOXS, PI Sergio Campana), the new instrument for the ESO NTT, which will replace SOFI, is due for installation in 2021 and we foresee that ePESSTO+ will, at least, bridge the gap from now until SOXS is delivered to ESO in 2021.