AstroNote 2019-136

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DRAFT
2019-11-24 11:28:24
Type: Announcement-Tool/Utility
Modifications to the TNS treatment of the "Discovery Group" - to be deployed on Dec 2nd, 2019.
Authors: Ofer Yaron, Avishay Gal-Yam, Avner Sass (Weizmann)
Abstract:
In order to adapt the TNS for both the present and future needs, and in particular to the activity of transient brokers as significant sources that report discoveries of transients that are observed and publicly released by the observing surveys/facilities, we will deploy next week - on Monday, Dec 2nd, 2019 - small adjustments to the handling of the “discovery group/s”, by introducing instead two distinct group identifications: the Reporting group and the Discovery Data Source group. Bot owners should apply these changes in the scripts for the Bulk AT Reports, whether via JSON or TSV submissions, as described below.

In order to adapt the TNS for both the present and future needs, and in particular to the activity of transient brokers as significant sources that report discoveries of transients that are observed and publicly released by the observing surveys/facilities, we will perform the following small adjustments to the TNS handling of the “discovery group/s”, so that the activities involved in bringing a transient into the public domain are accurately documented.

The new handling was deployed today on the SANDBOX env., and it will be deployed on the production site next week, on Monday, Dec 2nd, 2019, around 08:00 GMT (including the population backwards of the groups fields for all existing AT-reports).

The single “Discovering Group” designation (as part of the AT/discovery report) is being replaced with two new fields that record both the survey/group that performed the actual observations and the reporting group (broker) that selected a transient for reporting to the TNS along with the relevant annotations. These will appear as:

  • Reporting Group
  • Discovery Data Source (the group operating the source survey)

These two entries can of course point to the same group (as is the case, for example, for amateur discoveries, and many of the currently running surveys), and should be specified as part of the AT report. They will also appear separately in the search query options, the ​Discovery Certificate​ and on the statistics pages.

So, for example:

  • Brokers such as ALeRCE which report on discoveries of relevant transient candidates found in public streams such as ZTF will report in the following manner: Reporting Group=ALeRCE, Discovery Data Source=ZTF.

  • Querying the TNS for all discoveries of a given observing survey (regardless of the reporting channel) can be done using the Discovery Data Source without having to unite the results for multiple groups.

  • Some surveys may operate several discovery instruments, so instead of having to choose all relevant instruments, it is more convenient to query by a single “Discovery Data Source” group.

  • It will be possible to easily query for transients according to their origin brokers including the case of brokers that report on transients from several discovery sources, as expected to happen soon.

 

Bot owners should adjust their scripts for the Bulk AT Reports, whether via JSON or TSV submissions, by replacing the single groupid identification with the following group id's entries:

      "reporting_group_id": "X",
      "discovery_data_source_id": "Y",

The new JSON/TSV templates can be found on the sandbox API TEST FORM.

 

*** Important Note ***

Please note that the current JSONs you're submitting will still continue to work until Jan 31, 2020, so your JSON AT reports SHOULD NOT FAIL also before getting to perform the changes.

However, if using TSV submissions, these should be revised and tested against the sandbox, and be ready for use by the deployment on Dec 2nd.

 

Comments and additional suggestions are clearly most welcome.