Surveys with the Cherenkov Telescope Array
Surveys open up unbiased discovery space and generate legacy datasets of long-lasting value. One of the goals of imaging arrays of Cherenkov telescopes like CTA is to survey areas of the sky for faint very high energy gamma-ray (VHE) sources, especially sources that would not have drawn attention were it not for their VHE emission (e.g. the Galactic "dark accelerators"). More than half the currently known VHE sources are to be found in the Galactic plane. Using standard techniques, CTA can carry out a survey of the region |l|<60 degrees, |b|<2 degrees in 250 hr (1/4th the available time per year at one location) down to a uniform sensitivity of 3 mCrab (a "Galactic Plane survey"). CTA could also survey 1/4th of the sky down to a sensitivity of 20 mCrab in 370 hr of observing time (an "all-sky survey"), which complements well the surveys by the Fermi/LAT at lower energies and extended air shower arrays at higher energies. Observations in (non-standard) divergent pointing mode may shorten the "all-sky survey" time to about 100 hr with no loss in survey sensitivity. We present the scientific rationale for these surveys, their place in the multi-wavelength context, their possible impact and their feasibility. We find that the Galactic Plane survey has the potential to detect hundreds of sources. Implementing such a survey should be a major goal of CTA. Additionally, about a dozen blazars, or counterparts to Fermi/LAT sources, are expected to be detected by the all-sky survey, whose prime motivation is the search for extragalactic "dark accelerators".