Finding transient objects with HAT-South

This honours thesis project was based on data obtained from the HAT-South survey. The HAT-South project is a survey of the southern sky with telescopes in Chile, South Africa and Australia, taking 240 second exposures with a 4.5 minute cadence. The wide-field survey telescopes at each site have a field of view of 128 square degreese. The aim of the survey is to detect and characterise a large number of exoplanets transiting nearby bright stars.
Visual inspection of the HAT-South data obtained to date has revealed a number of bright transient objects in only a few frames and of unknown origin. The aim of this honours project was to identify and characterise as many of these transient objects as possible. These transients could be attributed to a number of phenomena, including but not limited to: cataclysmic variables, novae and supernovae, blazars, tidal disruption flares, GRB afterglows, Galactic variable stars, microlensing events and Near-Earth Objects. The identification of such objects proves highly useful in many fields, and as such this project has the potential to provide interesting and useful results that may be followed up by researchers studying specific types of transients.