The MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa is the precursor array for the mid frequency component of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). MeerKAT was inaugurated on 13 July 2018.
Eight legacy-style large survey projects (LSPs) have been defined on MeerKAT and all are operational. This includes two surveys focussed on the detection and study of radio transients, one for image-domain transients on time scales above 1 second (ThunderKAT) and one for time-domain transients on time scales faster than 1 second (TRAPUM).
ThunderKAT and TRAPUM will be fully commensal with all other MeerKAT LSPs, providing an enormous time baseline over which to detect transients at any redshift and sky location. ThunderKAT and TRAPUM will always be ‘hunting’ for transients through a dedicated data ‘spigot’, scanning all the data from MeerKAT in real-time for transient detection.
By exclusively linking MeerLICHT to MeerKAT, we will, for the first time ever, provide optical multi-band observations of every night-time observation conducted by a radio telescope, ensuring that every transient in the field of view will be simultaneously covered in the radio and the optical.