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Paper: A Science Alert System for Gaia and Similar All-Sky Space Missions
Volume: 338, Astrometry in the Age of the Next Generation of Large Telescopes
Page: 176
Authors: Popowski, P.
Abstract: I use an example of the Gaia Astrometric Space Mission to discuss the implementation of a science alert system in a future all-sky observational program of large magnitude. The Gaia mission, scheduled for launch in 2011, will revolutionize Galactic astronomy by measuring stellar positions and motions at the precision level of microarcseconds. Gaia will scan the entire sky with a predefined spin and precession and observe approximately 1 billion stars down to a limiting magnitude of V = 20. In addition, the mission has the exciting potential to discover a huge number of transient events. However, due to its fixed observing pattern, the Gaia satellite will be unable to follow or unambiguously classify such events. An essential ingredient of the project will thus be how to deal with such discoveries and alert the international astrophysical community about their occurrence in an efficient manner. I discuss several ways to enhance the science alert system based on experience from microlensing surveys. I stress the role of pre-launch variability surveys and post-lunch follow-up facilities to boost the scientific return from the Gaia mission.
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