AstroNote 2020-70

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2020-03-30 09:30:37
Type: Announcement-Tool/Utility
Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) now reported to and distributed via the TNS
Authors: O. Yaron, E. Ofek, A. Gal-Yam, A. Sass (Weizmann)
As of March 2020 the TNS serves as the official name server and hub for distribution of FRB events. At the request of this community, the TNS now operates two engines for designation of names, the original 'YYYYabc' (currently serving AT/SN), and now also 'YYYYMMDDabc' for FRBs (and potential future communities requiring such a format). New pages and processes have been deployed, enabling the reporting, distribution and querying of FRB events using both interactive forms and APIs.

Initiated by the CHIME-FRB project and in coordination with additional members of the FRB community, we have designed and developed the required components for hosting and managing FRBs on the TNS. This functionality became operational at the begining of this month, March 2020.

In order to support FRB science, the TNS now includes new functionalities including:

  • The naming convention for FRB events is 'FRB YYYYMMDDabc', therefore the TNS now operates two name-designation engines in parallel.
  • Many FRBs are only coarsly localized, so we have added support for area transients, specifying various region (localization) definitions. The available formats (supporting also detached regions) include ellipse/s, polygon/s or a healpix full sky probabilty map fits file. Additional area transient functionalities - e.g. internal cross-matching between area and point transients will be added in the future.
  • A Separate Report Form and APIs for reporting FRB events.
  • A mechanism for association and handling of Repeaters: potentially repeating events (at consistent localizations and DMs) are handled as distinct objects on the TNS, associated with a primary (earliest recorded) burst. Association can be managed by users.
  • Like all other official discoveries and classifications on the TNS, FRB discoveries are fully citable and indexed by the ADS.

Please note the following:

  • If you are interested to include FRBs in your search results, don't forget to check the new 'Include FRBs' checkbox at the top of the search page.
  • Limiting the search page queries to retrieve only FRBs is possible via selecting AT Type = FRB, or choosing Object Type = FRB.
  • Also note that on the Search page there are several FRB-specific query fields in the new section 'Advanced FRB Search', as well as additional specific FRB properties that can be displayed via the 'Columns to display' section.
  • If you are interested in receiving email notifications on new FRB reports, this should be defined on your "My Account" page, under the section 'General Notification Settings'. Note that the default is to not receive FRB alerts, so make sure to update as needed. 

Near future plans include the complete ingestion of the FRBCAT and the reporting of the backlog of historic FRB events, both published and non-published, as already undertaken by CHIME; followed by the reporting of live events by the various radio observatories/groups.

There is clearly room for further improvements and adjustments, especially until the new functionalities stabilize; we clearly welcome any questions, feedbacks and comments.

The TNS Team.