Full first announcement
The transient sky has never been more exciting. Numerous current and near-future large-scale surveys (PanStarrs, PTF, SkyMapper, Gaia, SWIFT, OGLE, LOFAR, LSST) are promising vast numbers of new, transient objects corresponding to a wide range of astrophysical phenomena, from solar system objects, through new types of stellar variability and signatures of exoplanets, to Supernovae and orphan Gamma Ray Bursts. However without prompt and appropriate follow-up observations, much of the scientific potential of these new discoveries will be lost. It becomes crucial for transient astronomy that the new phenomena are rapidly observed with small and medium size telescopes and the data are analysed quickly to share the knowledge.
The Gaia Photometric Science Alerts team, is responsible for generating alerts on transient and anomalous events detected in the data stream of the Gaia satellite - cornerstone ESA mission scheduled for launch in August 2013. The alerts will become public immediately, and to assure the complex data processing pipeline produces reliable and robust alerts, they need to be thoroughly tested. Therefore, the first alerts will need to be verified with an extensive programme of dedicated follow-up observations.
Thorough and robust classification requires a dedicated network of telescopes and a well-organised team. Now, with the Gaia launch so close, we are approaching a crucial point in time. We need to organise our teams, choose instruments and telescopes, construct observing proposals, and prepare the community for the influx of Gaia alerts.
During the first two Gaia Science Alerts workshops we have addressed the requirements for the ground-based verification of alerts and their follow-up. We have established the foundations of the collaborative network of telescopes and scientists willing to get involved in the transients follow-up and Gaia alerts verification.
In the third workshop this summer we will present and discuss the early-stage tests performed by our partners based on alerts generated by the Catalina Real-Time Transient Survey (CRTS) and other surveys. We will also continue building and extending the network with new partners.
One of the main issues related with the follow-up of transients is their robust and rapid classification at the survey level and then evolving classification with the additional follow-up data. We will concentrate on this subject during the third workshop and present current techniques and methods of transient classification presented by experts in the field and astronomers applying the techniques to their data.
Workshop will take place on 6-7 September 2012 in the old university of Bologna in Italy. Further details and registration is available here: http://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/ioa/wikis/gsawgwiki/index.php/Workshop2012:main
Best regards and hope to see you in Bologna!
Lukasz Wyrzykowski on behalf of the Workshop Organizing Committee
Gaia Science Alerts Workshop 2012
6-7 September 2012, Bologna, Italy