[TDA_wg] Outline of discussion at Hotwired IV
Elizabeth.Griffin at nrc-cnrc.gc.ca
Wed May 20 12:57:49 EDT 2015
A previous message of mine proposed that the WG keep visible the various strands of which it is composed, both for admin purposes and also in order that any one aspect of TDA not be construed as the whole of it. I was therefore about to suggest that those taking part in this Nomenclature discussion consider forming a splinter group, or sub-committee, for Naming Transients (or some such). However, that could cut badly across the Commission's WG for Nomenclature, both in its present form and in its continuation in C.B5. You may regard the naming of transients (including supernovae) as sufficiently specific to TDA that there won't be confusion (or duplication, or destruction of the integrity of the Nomenclature WG), but it may end up by creating a rival group. How do you want to proceed?
PS. The annoyance to which Michael refers is not limited to SN names! Those who can recite the HD backwards are flummoxed by those who only deal in HR numbers or (forbid it!) Flamsteed ones or Bayer designations. Simbad can resolve them efficiently, but again that doesn't help oral discussions.
> t's in communication in narrative form and oral discussions that the multiple naming is most annoying.
From: TDA_wg [tda_wg-bounces at timedomainastronomy.net] On Behalf Of Michael Wood-Vasey [wmwv at pitt.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 12:06 PM
To: tda_wg at timedomainastronomy.net
Subject: Re: [TDA_wg] Outline of discussion at Hotwired IV
I share a few thoughts below:
1) One of the things that happened in the SN community is that the IAU SN Circulars became a gatekeeper and the community moved away once that became restrictive. I believe this group in particular should keep this in mind when developing new schemes or given approval to existing schemes.
The approach of the IAU Circulars had worked well for coordinated scattered observations of nearby SNe, often involving a diversity of experience in the observers. But the restrictions of the gatekeeping role became clear once SN surveys got much more serious and produced many more SNe. E.g., in ESSENCE we would send in 20 SNe, and 19 would get names, with 1 being rejected for reasons not always clear.
ESSENCE and SNLS each chose to break away from relying on IAU names in part for this reason. I think we would all be happy to have IAU SN designations for the SN found. It's clearly a bit annoying to track different naming schemes. But we had to have a least a consistent list so we went with our own designations that we had full control over.
2) Before agreeing on a new scheme, there would have to be an agreement on who got to decide that something was a supernova and thus deserved that designation. I'm not sure that's possible either politically or technically.
3) We are talking about "labels" and "identifiers". Things do not "change names". They are identified in additional ways as more information is gathered or better understanding is reached. There will always be the need to cross-referenced and match across such things. There are likely designs and services that would make this easier and we should give thought to such things.
Two examples from 2003, one important, one trivial:
* The identification of SN 2013dh and GRB 030329 as the same event. This was a scientifically very interesting determination that clinched the association between GRBs and SNeIc (at least it did for me -- I had previously thought that 1998bw - GRB 980425 was just spatial coincidence). This would not have been appropriately handled by a decision tree based on pre-knowledge.
In particular, as we look across wavelengths, the association of events is non-trivial.
* The identification of SN 2003aw as a dwarf nova. I found and reported this SN to the IAU as part of the SNfactory prototype search and it received a "SN 2003aw" designation. It was observed spectroscopically by Filippenko et al. (CBET 8084) to be a dwarf nova.
4) It's in communication in narrative form and oral discussions that the multiple naming is most annoying.
Having a multitude of labels for the same is actually relatively straightforwardly addressed programatically.
The online catalogs that do name resolution already effectively support this. It's annoying, but it's not anarchy and it doesn't require deep knowledge of SN.
E.g., a SIMBAD search on PTF11pbp:
Lists 3 Identifiers
and will respond with the same key information to a search on any of those identifiers.
SIMBAD has an API and these lookups can be programatically done.
> On May 20, 2015, at 08:03 , Virginia Trimble <vtrimble at astro.umd.edu> wrote:
> Arnold Rots <arots at cfa.harvard.edu> wrote:
>> Recently, there was a discussion among the members of the IAU Acronym
>> triggered by a request to register one of the SNe acronyms in use.
>> Not to put too fine a point on it - this area is a mess.
>> There are multiple acronyms pointing to the same SN, some change names,
>> many look alike
>> but are different.
>> There seem to be two main reasons for it.
>> Obviously, it will not always be immediately clear whether a transient is
>> actually a SN, but
>> there is legitimate desire to publish the transient event with a name. If
>> it then later needs
>> to be included in a list of SNe, the name may, or may not, change.
>> It seems to be hard to reach agreement on a common naming scheme, since
>> different groups
>> prefer (to put it mildly) to name transients they discover in their own way.
>> If there is a desire to keep the classic series of names like SN1987a,
>> there will need to be
>> an effort to synchronize the naming of transients and their transition to
>> If not, we can either design something new or we will end up with anarchy
>> where people
>> will have a hard time figuring out the identity of SNe - at least people
>> outside the circle
>> of SNe wizards intimately familiar with their individual characters.
>> If the Clearinghouse can help, I am sure we would be willing.
>> - Arnold
>> Arnold H. Rots Chandra X-ray
>> Science Center
>> Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory tel: +1 617 496
>> 60 Garden Street, MS 67 fax: +1 617
>> 495 7356
>> Cambridge, MA 02138
>> arots at cfa.harvard.edu
>> On Mon, May 18, 2015 at 7:39 PM, Andy Howell <ahowell at lcogt.net> wrote:
>>> Upon request, here is the outline I presented during a discussion at the
>>> Hotwired meeting about what will be needed in the future to share
>>> information about transients. The consensus was that the community should
>>> write a white paper to outline what they need. I am happy to start
>>> bringing together such a draft. Perhaps this will get the discussion
>>> 1) Naming schemes (current IAU SN naming system has these undesirable
>>> issues: SNe start with a PSN name, then transition to other names, may SNe
>>> go unnamed, and many groups give the same event different names).
>>> A) Name server? (i. e. there is a new transient at location X,
>>> returns name if one exists, assigns new one of not).
>>> B) Specific to event subtypes? (i.e. are separate naming
>>> conventions for GRBs / SNe / Novae, etc, a historical accident, or should
>>> they just all be 15abc as many surveys have done)
>>> 2) Communicating discoveries
>>> A) IAU
>>> B) ATEL
>>> C) Web pages
>>> 3) Sharing information in real time
>>> A) Scheduling resources e.g. I’m going to observer this tonight.
>>> B) Here’s the redshift, type, and spectrum.
>>> C) Here are the light curve points in all wavelengths
>>> D) Social media type interactions
>>> 4) Iterating the above (e.g.. based on latest LC point and redshift,
>>> this object is likely...)
>>> 5) Automated telescope triggering
>>> 6) Archiving data / querying databases
>>> - What types of events can work under the same system? Supernovae,
>>> GRBs, microlensing, planets, variable stars, flares, etc.
>>> - Do we adapt existing infrastructure? Build something new?
>>> - Where does the money come from?
>>> - Do we need the IAU?
>>> - Does it need to scale to LSST?
>>> TDA_wg mailing list
>>> TDA_wg at timedomainastronomy.net
> Indeed a mess; 1897a was comet Levy; the SN was 1987A in accordance
> with convention going back to Fritz Zwicky in early 1950s and endorsed
> by IAU's second SN working group, of which I was the founding chair
> (upon instructions from Vera Rubin) after the Patras IAU in 1982.
> The IAU still, under international treaties going back to 1919, owns
> the right to name celestial objects, decide on units, constellation
> boundaries, and so forth, so if y'all can manage to work within
> their structure, that would probably be a Good Thing
> Virginia Trimble
> TDA_wg mailing list
> TDA_wg at timedomainastronomy.net
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