We want to build EVA (Evryscope for the Arctic and Antarctic), the first ultra-wide-field synoptic sky survey to be conducted from either Pole. The system is based on the successful Evryscope concept, already installed and operating since 2015 at Cerro Tololo in Chile with the following characteristics: robotic operation, ~8,000 square degrees simultaneous sky coverage, 2-minute cadence, milli-mag level photometric accuracy, pipelined data processing for real-time analysis and full data storage for off-line analysis.
The science goals enabled by this unique combination of almost full-sky coverage and high temporal cadence are several, and include among others ground-breaking forays in the fields of exoplanets, of stellar variability, of asteroseismology, of supernovae and more. In addition, the EVA polar locations (first in the High Arctic at the PEARL station on Ellesmere island, and then at the South Pole at the Amundsen-Scott station) will enable unprecedented time coverage during the polar night, with uninterrupted observations lasting in principle over weeks and months.
While a polar location is certainly challenging in terms of environment and serviceability, we are confident that we can contain the costs and minimize the risks by building upon the proven Evryscope design already working at CTIO, by using off-the-shelf components for the bulk of the hardware and by benefitting from our wide experience of logistics and operation at the PEARL station. For the South Pole deployment, we will seek NSF funding to cover the potentially very expensive logistics costs.
We plan to have first light at the PEARL station in the winter of 2017-18. We foresee to involve about 10 scientists directly in the project starting in 2016, with the potential for a much larger group from 2018. Eventually, we plan to make the EVA data public after a proprietary period. In Thailand, we aim not only at involving staff researchers in this project, but also at recruiting several Master and PhD students who will have a opportunity to choose thesis projects with this exciting and ground-breaking facility.