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Paper: Pipeline Processing at the Isaac Newton Group: Facilitating Transient Event Astronomy
Volume: 281, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XI
Page: 238
Authors: Walton, Nicholas A.; Greimel, Robert; Lennon, Daniel J.; Irwin, Mike J.; Lewis, James R.
Abstract: The Isaac Newton Group (ING) of Telescopes is currently implementing a unified data flow and processing system to support its instrumentation systems. The processing pipelines for the optical and near-IR imaging cameras, based on a Beowulf cluster, ``Gigawulf'', are currently in operation, tightly coupled to the observing and archival systems. We outline how an ability to fully reduce data and produce derived object catalogues in near real-time enables new follow-up options in transient event astronomy to be explored. Additionally, the use of a real-time pipeline enables in-situ event generation, such as the discovery of Near Earth Objects, Kuiper Belt Objects and Supernovae. The key to utilizing small- and medium-sized telescopes, such as the 4.2-m William Herschel Telescope, is to observe rapidly fading transients such as GRB's as soon as an alert is received. The initial alert may have significant errors in the position necessitating rapid acquisition of images followed by image catalogue generation and comparison with existing data to allow target identification and detailed followup such as single slit spectroscopy. In the case of rapidly moving objects, these must be discovered from data generated in real-time, cross-referenced with either archival data or as part of a time series. The deployment of the data pipelines at the ING, and their capability in supporting transient even astronomy, is discussed. Reference is made to the emerging possibility, opened up with the development of grid technologies, to link observatory instrumental capabilities with data centre archival material to facilitate on-site target generation.
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