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GCN/TAN Transient Alerts automatic follow-up? (science-topic)

  • Posts: 75
  • Thank you received: 13
I see in EKOS a very promising platform for some science/astrophysics topics. One of which is the study of transient phenomena, particularly Supernovae, Novae, Gamma-Ray Bursts, Astronomical Neutrinos from IceCube, mergers from gravitation wave detectors such as LIGO/VIRGO/KAGRA (of particular interest would be a neutron star - black hole mergers and neutron star - neutron star mergers). We already have all the robotic bits implemented, so I think this would not be dramatically complicated to add. Within the gamma-ray community for instance, we use a lot NASA's GCN/TAN platform to deliver and receive almost real-time locations and information about fast transient phenomena occurring in the sky. Cherenkov telescopes in particular typically have GCN/TAN clients implemented that automatically take over the telescopes to observe such alerts as fast as possible.

So I could imagine some sort of plugin / driver that could be activated in EKOS that would
1. monitor that GCN/TAN for events and react, based on configurable limits (Zenith Distance, false positive alarms or stuff like that) to those events.
2. automatically point the telescope, possibly with some focusing or fine-plate-solving, although given the usually time-criticality of such alerts I would just live with slightly defocused or non-fully-centered images.
3. start taking images with some previously set configuration (filter selection, exposure, gain, time that the transient is followed up, etc).

As optional steps, which would be amazing but I'm not sure how easy would be to implement, I could think of:

1. automatic plate solve
2. preliminary calibration with some pre-defined darks/flats
3. automatic/preliminary aperture photometry (maybe using sextractor),
4. even possibly use that photometry from 3. to automatically adjust the exposure in case the photometry shows saturation/underexposed images.
5. maybe even directly send results back to GCN/TAN.

Of potential interest from the community would be both the location of these bursts (some soft gamma-ray burst monitors in satellites do not have a very good angular resolution, so often telescopes from Earth are used to pin-point where exactly the burst is located, and here we might be able to contribute) and photometry.

Some information about GCN/TAN:

What do you think? I'm not sure if the average astrophotographer would use such a feature, but I personally would love to have it. I don't mind if my astrophotography project gets interrupted for a while to do potentially exciting science in case there is a neutron-neutron star merger alert and be able to get a nice light curve from the corresponding GRB.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jasem Mutlaq, Ilia
Last edit: 1 year 5 months ago by Mireia.
1 year 5 months ago #88097

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  • Posts: 57
  • Thank you received: 28
Great proposal!
If I can help for this proposal, I'm ready to help.
1 year 5 months ago #88098

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