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A Transient Astronomy “Free for All” at The Astronomer’s Telegram Derek B. Fox, Caltech Robert E. Rutledge, McGill VO Events Meeting Pasadena – 13 April 2005 A Transient Astronomy Free-for-All ATEL in Context What need does it serve? How does it work? ATEL in Action

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a transient astronomy free for all at the astronomer s telegram

A Transient Astronomy“Free for All” at The Astronomer’s Telegram

Derek B. Fox, Caltech

Robert E. Rutledge, McGill

VO Events Meeting

Pasadena – 13 April 2005

a transient astronomy free for all
A Transient Astronomy Free-for-All
  • ATEL in Context
    • What need does it serve?
    • How does it work?
  • ATEL in Action
    • How has it been used?
    • What have we learned?
  • From ATEL to VO Events
    • Minimal standards for VOE
    • ATEL-like components
    • New/Novel components
the astronomer s telegram
The Astronomer’s Telegram
  • Online December 17, 1997
  • Founder: Bob Rutledge
  • Application of the Web to transient astronomy
  • All Perl CGI
  • Daily emails + Instant Notices

On the same day:

  • GCNs #9 to #13 on GRB971214
  • IAUC 6791, also on GRB971214
atel approach
ATEL Approach

Philosophy:

  • Universal access
  • Vet authors on registration
  • Trust them thereafter . . . (can revoke if necessary)
  • Complete automation
  • Instant distribution
    • On web in seconds
    • Email in minutes (instants)
    • A must for transient astronomy
  • Free for all
universal access collaboration
Universal Access  Collaboration
  • Observers expect others to be aware of ATEL
  • Watch ATEL for transient events
  • Respond by initiating observations
  • Post results to ATEL

Extremely rich phenomena are intensively observed, without prior agreement, between major observers at the largest facilities

atel usage
ATEL Usage

In the 7 1/2 years since:

  • ATEL #457 – all freely available via ADS query
  • GCN 3255
  • IAUC 8509 (+1718) – approx. 5000 notices
  • CBET 137 – New since Jan 25, 2005
  • Multiple project-specific mailing lists
atel users
Authors self-describe telegrams by bandpass and subject matter

Multiple selections are allowed & encouraged

107 “Requests for Observations”

18 “Comments”

ATEL Users
atel lessons
ATEL Lessons
  • Personal registration of users
  • HTTP User + Password sufficient to verify (cookie)
  • Cryptographic signatures still rare
  • Content verification via the website
  • Authors have “pushed the envelope” for instant notices
  • Theory telegrams didn’t work
  • Observers encouraged to interpret results
registration of users
Registration of Users

Necessity of vetting users

  • Verify identity by personal contact
  • Professional astronomers and graduate students

Considerations:

  • Several requests per year from non-astronomers
  • Amateur astronomers would like to post
  • Usually users attempt to post prior to registration
instant email notices
Instant Email Notices

Exception to daily emails intended for:

  • Discovery with new coordinates
  • New outburst of known transient
  • Typing of supernova
  • Request for observations
elements of vo events
Elements of VO Events
  • XML Schema
    • Event Coordinates
    • Event Properties
    • Descriptive elements
  • Distribution channels
    • Vetted in advance
    • Providing event verification
    • Cafeteria style selection (not all or nothing)
  • Registration service
    • Identity
    • Qualifications
elements of vo events18
Elements of VO Events

ATEL:

  • Schema
    • Author names + affiliations
    • First author email address
    • Telegram Title (string)
    • Wavebands + Object types
    • Text description
  • Distribution channels
    • Website, Email, RSS
    • Event verification by visiting the website
  • Registration service
    • Personal contact by Editors
the information registry
The Information Registry
  • VO Events may enable machine-intiated observations on subsecond timescales.
  • To work in this fashion they must have registry metadata enabling identity and content verification
  • If these are not included in the VO event schema then events will be distributed only between previously known & trusted sources, and the utility of a universal schema will be lost.
from atel to vo events
From ATEL to VO Events

VO-Events:

  • XML Schema
    • Ongoing process
  • Distribution channels
    • Website, Email, RSS, SOAP
    • Identity verification
    • Content verification
  • Registration service
    • ?
the vo event free for all
The VO Event Free-for-All
  • ATEL has been up for 7.5 years
  • Instant access enabling progress in transient astronomy
  • Registration of users has allowed us to trust them
  • Increasing usage + diversity of subject matter

VO Events as a free-for all:

  • Flexibility of subscriptions
  • Flexibility of subject matter
  • Freedom of access
  • Verification of author and content provided