Verification phase

From Gaia Science Alerts Working Group
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The main aim of the Science Alerts Verification Phase (SAVP) is to verify the robustness of the issued alerts and confirm them with a dedicated network of follow-up telescopes operating in a Target of Opportunity (ToO) mode. The verification observations should be carried out both photometrically (imaging) and spectroscopically in order to, e.g. confirm the presence of the detected new object, or to confirm or fine-tune the classification of the alert. The verification phase should reveal all necessary adjustments which have to be done to the detection and classification algorithms to assure the best and the most robust performance later on.

The verification phase could last for about 3 months and is planned to take place after around 3-6 months after receiving the first Gaia data to assure there is enough historical data available for most of the objects, and to allow for shake-down of the Gaia Initial Data Treatment (IDT). Some areas (close to the nodes of the scanning pattern) will have enough observations accumulated to allow for an earlier start of the alerting pipeline, as long as the GAIA data flow is operating smoothly. In principle, some pre-launch preparation could take place in the areas of very dense Gaia sampling. This could include gathering all useful information about the objects in these regions, both from existing catalogues and accompanied by new observations. This could include variability classification and spectral type classification to test recovery of known candidate (potential) transient sources, as well as likely contaminants.

The Science Alerts Verification Phase will be conducted mainly under umbrella of GBOG (Ground Based Observations for Gaia), however we encourage other groups of astronomers to join this effort as early as possible. Early involvement in the alerts observations can result in establishing a good connection with the Gaia alerts stream when they become fully public.

Preliminary list of telescopes and people involved

Telescope/Observatory Contact person (with email) Details
Swiss Euler Laurent Eyer ( 1.2m, La Silla, Chile
Belgian Mecatore Laurent Eyer 1.2m, La Palma (Swiss Time)
Loiano Gisella Clementini ( 1.5m, Bologna, Italy
Konkoly Laszlo Szabados ( 1m RCC, 60/90/180 cm Schmidt, 50 cm Cassegrain, Piszkesteto Mountain Station of the Konkoly Obs., Hungary