High Energy Time Domain Astronomy with Swift and Beyond
Hartmann, Dieter H.
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The Swift Gamma-Ray Burst (GRB) Explorer was launched in 2004 with two objectives: 1) To precisely localize GRBs and promptly relay their positions to other observatories; and, 2) To characterize the GRB afterglow phase with its on-board X-ray and UV/optical telescopes and rapidly slewing spacecraft. From the discovery of the first afterglows and host galaxies of short-hard GRBs, to a events detected from the cosmic epoch of reionization, Swift has proven remarkably successful in this regard. However, Swift's scientific portfolio has expanded significantly beyond the realm of GRBs. The sensitive narrow-field instruments, together with low slew overheads and dynamic scheduling, have enabled ground-breaking discoveries in fields ranging from comets to Supernovae and active galactic nuclei (AGN). Swift has become a premier workhorse facility for multi-wavelength Time-Domain Astronomy. In the era of gravitational wave detections Swift is engaged in a global search for their electromagnetic counterparts.