These are similar to the transient events which will trigger the Gaia alerts which will start later this year.
The Gaia satellite will be a great way to discover astronomical objects which change in brightness in an exciting and not repeatable way, called transient objects. Transients include explosions of stars known as supernovae (see Exploding stars for details) and cataclysmic variables, which are a class of binary star system containing at least one white dwarf which is stealing gas from a companion star (see more Cataclysmic Variables section on Variable stars page).
Gaia will discover many new transients as it scans the sky but will not be able to follow these objects to see how they are changing with time. This means it will be difficult to figure out exactly what the transient objects are using Gaia data alone.
To do this we need help - YOU!
Our “Gaia science alerts”, to be published on this website, will provide the positions and brightnesses of transients detected by Gaia. Amateur astronomers , using their own telescopes, and schools, using robotic telescopes controlled from the classroom, can then make observations of the transients to try to identify what they really are. One object per week should be bright enough for these classes of telescope to observe.
Here we are illustrating how this will work using objects detected by other surveys as Gaia is not yet ready to begin detecting transient objects (it is still undergoing tests to check it works well for the rest of the mission).
During the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition (RSSSE, see our RSSSE page) we will be showing people how to use the Faulkes (Faulkes North - Hawaii (Mauna Kea) and Faulkes South - Australia (Siding Spring); see http://www.faulkes-telescope.com/) and PIRATE (Mallorca; see http://pirate.open.ac.uk/) telescopes to look at transients. On this page we have a list of the positions of new transient objects and their brightnesses as they appear to us. In the final column of the table we will show the measurements of the brightness of the transient object – taken from observations which the public are helping us make during the RSSSE. The plot of the brightness of an object against the time of measurement is called a light curve, and tells us which broad category of astronomical object we are looking at.
These light curves will be updated with real data, which you can come along and see us taking during the RSSSE!
|Host Galaxy||Light curve|
|SN2014bc||20/05/14||12 18 57.71||47 18 11.3||14.8||PanSTARRS||M106|
|J14595||21/05/14||14 59 59.47||1 47 6.2||15.7||CRTS||NGC 5806|
|J15024||13/05/14||15 2 49.96||48 47 6.2||16.2|
|SN2014bb||09/05/14||13 32 49.11||41 52 15.1||16.2||ISSP||NGC 5214|
|SN2014bu||17/06/14||1 20 58.45||21 59 59.8||16.2||Monard||NGC 694|
|SN2014az||20/05/14||23 32 22.85||15 51 10.6||16.6||ASASSN||NGC 7691|
|SN2014ay||19/05/14||17 55 5.43||18 15 26.4||16.7||ASASSN||UGC 11037|
|ASASSN-14bd||24/05/14||12 52 44.86||26 28 12.4||16.7||ASASSN||IC 831|
|SN2014bw||10/06/14||16 55 44.77||26 15 28.6||16.8||ISSP||PGC 59263|
|ASASSN-14az||20/05/14||23 44 48||-2 7 3.2||14.5||ASAS-SN||ANON|
|iPTF14bdn||27/05/14||13 30 44.88||32 45 42.4||14.7||iPTF||UGC 8503|
|J03442||27/05/14||3 44 23.99||-44 40 8.1||14.7||Monard||NGC 1448|
|2014bt||31/05/14||21 43 11.13||-38 58 5.8||16.7||BOSS||IC 5128|
|2014ay||19/05/14||17 55 5.43||18 15 26.4||16.7||ASAS-SN||UGC 11037|
|ASASSN-14db||22/06/14||22 2 1.85||-70 2 26.2||16.3||ASAS-SN||ESO 75-G49|
|--||20 54 06.764||01 15 37.39||14.7|
(ID 3352291 in
Key to the surveys:
- CRTS = Catalina Real-Time Transient Survey, http://crts.caltech.edu/
- ISSP = Italian Supernova Search Project (Amateurs), http://italiansupernovae.org/en.html
- BOSS = Backyard Observatory Supernova Search (Amateurs), https://www.bosssupernova.com/
- ASAS-SN = All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae, http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~assassin/index.shtml
- PanSTARRS = Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System, http://pan-starrs.ifa.hawaii.edu/public/.
Downolad targets list spreadsheet (OpenDocument Spreadsheet format)
Page last updated: 15 August 2018