VOEvent is central for gravitational wave follow-up

Rob Seaman seaman at lpl.arizona.edu
Fri Dec 14 15:12:30 CET 2018

"We strongly recommend receiving LIGO/Virgo alerts in the VOEvent XML

And early efforts by this IVOA WG reached out to most/all other
astronomical transient alert communities. Many of these continue to bear
fruit in fulfilling the original IVOA / NVO vision of a single event
protocol to rule them all:


On the other hand, two major groups are pursuing divergent formats. JPL
and the Minor Planet Center, via the IAU, have created the Astrometric
Data Exchange Standard (ADES), another XML standard. And ZTF is
prototyping AVRO/JSON alerts with the notion that these will become the
de facto LSST standard. Indeed ZTF and LSST will also submit moving
object alerts / astrometry using ADES (if not the 1992 IAU 80-column
standard), and will each have to support two standards.

This WG has long had the notion of a network of brokers bridging across
to multiple communities with diverse formats and transport standards.
The only thing of note here is that all three of these standards are IAU
standards (IVOA is governed through IAU Comm B2):


There had been some earlier discussion of the JSON standard growing out
of VOEvent, indeed becoming VOEvent v3.0. To what extent has the VOEvent
data model been preserved? VOEvent v1 was successfully translated into
JSON a dozen years ago. The ADES data model is quite simple in structure
and could itself be represented in VOEvent. (This WG did engage with the
moving object domain at the time.) XML and JSON are largely isomorphic.

Hot-wiring the Transient Universe VI will be held at Northwestern
University from August 19-22, 2019:


The time is ripe to re-engage with the interoperability issues in
particular, and with operational projects such as Gaia, as well as LSST,
NEOCam, and other future surveys.

Rob Seaman, Catalina Sky Survey


On 12/14/18 3:25 AM, Roy Williams wrote:
> As many of you know, there is great excitement in the entire astronomical community about the start of O3, the next LIGO-Virgo observing run, in early 2019 [1]. For the first time, gravitational-wave alerts will be released rapidly, to the public, for electromagnetic followup.
> Perhaps less well known is that the primary mechanism for that release [2] is through VOEvent, an IVOA protocol. Let us congratulate ourselves, this is a success story for the IVOA!
> Roy Williams
> [1] https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/page/observatory-status
> [2] https://emfollow.docs.ligo.org/userguide/content.html
> ---
> Royal Observatory Edinburgh
> roy at roe.ac.uk
> 07542 869986
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