Workshop2012:rationale

From Gaia Science Alerts Working Group
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First announcement...

  • Optimising ground-based transient follow-up

It can be shown that for any given transient, there exists a wide-range of follow-up observations that could be made, with differing degrees of effectiveness for improving classification. We will consider the general question what should we do next?, and investigate the dependence of the answer to this question on (i) the nature of the event, (ii) the availability and quality of measured data (photometry, astrometry, spectroscopy), (iii) the telescope and instrumentation available to the observer. This workshop session will look at the follow-up teams experiences with the CRTS and other surveys data.

  • Machine learning approaches to the classification of transient data.

Classification of transients is a unique problem for computational astrophysics. In this part of the workshop we will discuss state-of-the-art techniques for transient classification, including: Gaussian Mixtures, Self-Organizing Maps, Random Forest, Neural Networks, naive Bayes and so on. A workshop session will focus on the application of these techniques to the transients surveys data stream, and comparison to the Gaia data stream.

  • Expanding the follow-up community

There are a large number of telescopes and observers around the globe, both suitable and interested in taking part in the follow-up of the Gaia alerts. The list includes professional astronomers, as well as skilled,hard-working, well-equipped and well-organised amateur astronomers who would love to work closely with the Gaia mission. One of the main goals of our meeting is to identify new potential partners for the alerts follow-up and discuss common practises for the follow-up process, with an emphasis on the verification of the Gaia alerts. As an outcome of this we hope to prepare an agreed version of the Memorandum of Understanding, to be signed between the Gaia Science Alerts team and partners. This will cover all issues related with the data dissemination, processing and usage policy. An additional deliverable will be an evolving web site describing recommended follow-up procedures, providing detailed instructions on how to get involved, how to observe, how to share data, and instructing the astronomers how and who to credit.