Swinburne is proud to be leading The Deeper, Wider, Faster (DWF) program — the largest astronomical collaboration in the world, involving over 70 telescopes across all seven continents and in space and many top-tier universities and institutions. The program started in 2014 and is being led by Associate Professor Jeff Cooke.  

What we want to achieve  

We search for and follow up fast transients (bursts with millisecond-to-hours duration) in real-time. Fast transients include some of the most exotic explosions and collisions or mergers in the universe, involving black holes, magnetars, neutron stars, blitzars, extreme novae and supernovae. 

Discovering the various types and new classes helps us better understand the physics behind their explosions, the usual and extreme environments they reside, and to better understand the dynamic universe at all time scales.


The DWF program has four main components.

Novel simultaneous multi-wavelength observations

We coordinate the world’s largest and most sensitive wide-field telescopes in the radio, mm/sub-mm, optical, UV, X-ray, gamma-ray and ultra-high energy particles to point at the same fields in the sky at the same time. They acquire deep, wide-field, fast-cadenced observations to catch the elusive fast transients and to get all possible information on them before they fade.

Real-time fast transient detection 

We process and analyse all the data in near real-time (seconds) and identify transient candidates (in minutes) using data visualisaton technology in our Mission Control room at Swinburne and with collaborators all over the world.

Rapid response follow up data acquisition  

The fast transient identifications are needed to trigger rapid response (within minutes) telescopes, including large 8m-class and space telescopes, to get deep spectroscopy and imaging before the events fade.  These observations are informed by the concurrent simultaneous observations above.

Late-time follow up observations  

We then follow up the targets over weeks with over 30 telescopes worldwide, including global telescope networks, to classify fast events that are associated with slower-evolving events and get host galaxy and other information.

Scope of project

University of California
University of Tokyo
Space Telescope Science Institute
Jodrell Bank

University of Maryland
American Museum of National History
San Diego State University

And many others from countries including Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Canary Islands, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, the UK, the US and the US Virgin Islands.

Telescopes that are involved include ground and space-based telescopes - in order of energy from high to low:

Pierre Auger Observatory (Argentina)
HAWC (Mexico)
HESS (Namibia)
NASA Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory (Space)
HXMT Space Telescope (Space)
AstroSat Space Telescope (Space)
Keck Observatory (Hawaii)
Subaru Observatory (HSC, Hawaii)
ESO VLT (Chile)
Gemini Observatory (Chile/Hawaii)
Southern African Large Telescope (SALT, South Africa)
Palomar Observatory (Hale, California, GROWTH)
Discovery Channel Telescope (Arizona, GROWTH)
CTIO Blanco Telescope (DECam, Chile)
Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT, Australia)
Lick Observatory (Shane, California)
Nordic Optical Telescope (Canary Islands)
Lijiang (China)
ANU 2.3m (Australia)
Xinglong (China)
Liverpool (Canary Islands)
Himalayan Chandra Telescope (India, GROWTH)
Girawali Observatory (India, GROWTH)
SAAO 1.9m (South Africa)
KMTNet (Australia, South Africa, Chile)
Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory (Japan, GROWTH)
Observatorio de Sierra Nevada 1.5m (Spain)
Astronomical Station Vidojevica 1.4m (Serbia)
SkyMapper (Australia)
Stella Robotic Observatory (Canary Islands, GROWTH)
Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescopes (23 telescopes, seven global sites)

Lulin Observatory (Taiwan, GROWTH)
Kiso Observatory (Japan)
China Near Earth Object Survey Telescope (CNEOST, China)
Wise Observatory (Israel, GROWTH)
Mount Laguna Observatory (California)
Gin-gin Observatory (Zadko, Australia)
GROWTH-India (India)
Tsinghua-NAOC Telescope (TNT, China)
Observatorio de Sierra Nevada (La Hita, Spain)
Antarctica Schmidt Telescopes 3-2 (AST3-2, Antarctica)
Virgin Islands Robotic Telescope (VIRT, US Virgin Islands)
Panetix Observatory (Australia)
Huntsman Observatory (Australia)
Fenton Hill Observatory (New Mexico)
ESO 2.2m GROND (Chile)
INAF Rapid Eye Mount (REM, Chile)
DREAMS (Australia)
Palomar Observatory (Gattini, California)
The South Pole Telescope (Antarctica)
Australian Telescope Compact Array (Australia)
MeerKAT Array (South Africa)
Very Large Array (New Mexico)
Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (India, GROWTH)
Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (Australia)
Parkes Radio Telesope (Australia)
Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telesope ((MOST, Australia)
Murchison Widefield Array (Australia)

Are you a student wanting to be involved?

Prospective PhD students interested in this topic are encouraged to contact Associate Professor Jeff Cooke and submit an expression of interest to Swinburne.

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Did you know?

We have a web-based tool that enables students, amateur astronomers and the general publics to see the sky in near real-time and to search for fast transients.

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Explore our other research projects

Want to know more?

If you have any questions or looking for more information on the project, feel free to contact Associate Professor Jeff Cooke at jeffreycooke@swinburne.edu.au.

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