Recent Discoveries and New Challenges in Time Domain Astronomy
Novel wide-field transient surveys of the sky are finding new types of astronomical phenomena. I will discuss three classes of events we discovered recently: (1) peculiar new types of stellar explosions, which are challenging well-established models of supernova power sources; (2) the disruptions of stars by supermassive black holes, which are providing new insights into a decades-long problem; and (3) neutron stars mergers, which have brought the first observations of an astronomical event in both gravitational and electromagnetic waves, providing new insights (but also new puzzles) from the nuclear scale to the Universe as a whole. As more surveys come online in the coming years, we must develop the ability to define and identify the interesting events and obtain the crucial data in real time. I will briefly discuss how we're addressing this challenge.