[TDA_wg] Outline of discussion at Hotwired IV

Allen W. Shafter awshafter at gmail.com
Wed May 20 18:40:36 EDT 2015

This seems like a sensible solution/compromise to me.

I agree that a longer, formal name of the form [survey][UT date]:[RA, Dec
in J2000] with both temporal and spatial info will be important for machine
handling, and for transient follow-up (nice to have date of discovery in
addition to position readily available). For more informal reference, a
link for translation to a shorter name as suggested would also be useful. I
don't think a single naming scheme can be satisfactory for all situations.


On Wed, May 20, 2015 at 2:20 PM, George Djorgovski <george at astro.caltech.edu
> wrote:

> Folks, for what it is worth, we went through the naming of events with the
> PQ survey, and continued with CRTS.  Since events - as opposed to objects
> with which they may be associated - are spatiotemporal things, we though
> that the naming should reflect that.  We came up with a clunky solution:
> [survey][UT date]:[RA, Dec in J2000]
> For example: CSS150520:132803+085623 is an event that was observed by the
> CSS survey on UT May 20, at those coordinates.  Given the typical surface
> density of transients, that is plenty unambiguous, and obvious extensions
> of a precision (time or coordinates) could be added if needed.
> This format was designed to reveal the useful information, as opposed to
> the now prevalent XYZ15abc format, which hides most of the information, for
> example “can I observe it tonight?".  However, it is too clunky to say, so
> conversationally we would say, e.g., “we observed 150520”, because there
> aren’t too many interesting ones that get a lot of attention, but always
> use a full designation in the publications.  On the other hand, XYZ15abc is
> very easy to pronounce and remember.
> Even with the sources (not events) a common practice is to use nicknames,
> e.g., we would say “we observed SDSS 1435” instead of its full official
> name, SDSS J143507.47+132117.5, and in a given context everyone involved
> would know what we mean.
> I guess we could have both, with a translation easy to find somewhere,
> e.g.,
> CSS15pqr = CSS150520:132803+085623, which then may also get additional
> names, e.g., = SN2015xy
> The long names are for the computers, the short ones for the humans, more
> or less.
> It is probably safe to say that whatever the IAU decides, astronomers will
> do whatever they please…
> Cheers, George
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Allen W. Shafter, Chair
Department of Astronomy
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-1221
Ph: (619) 594-6170, Fax: (619) 594-1413
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