Observing optical transients from Astro-COLIBRI alerts

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
Tue, 11/28/2023 - 19:39

Responding to an Astro-COLIBRI alert, I imaged the unclassified optical transient AT 2023yoa in M31 using a Rc filter.  My general question about optical transients - are there any archives interested in saving an optical transient image?  I signed up for Kilonova Catcher / GRANDMA but noticed they are selective on what events they wish to archive observer images.  Are these optical transients of scientific interest?  I understand that afterglows from gravity waves, gamma ray bursts, and bright supernovas are of interest, but GWs and GRBs are difficult to capture because of the large field of view uncertainty.  Does AAVSO now or plan to offer an archive for an averaged image stack of the optical transient (like Kilonova Catcher) or photometry data from optical transients in the future?




American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)

> Are these optical transients of scientific interest?

That's kind of a hen-and-egg issue: Whether an initially unclassified optical transient is interesting will very likely be known only after observing it for some nights, after that it will in many cases be classified as some known type of event, and it will depend on that classification how interesting it is. Or it will remain a mystery event even after a few nights, in that case it could be very interesting. But that won't be known at the time of the alert.


Let's take AT 2023yoa , it is currently classified as a Nova, and potentially a recurring Nova. That is interesting! See here for the current classification and obs reports


Most such initially unclassified optical transients (that are bright enough for amateurs to observe in a meaningful way) will have an AT YYYYabcde... designation which means you'll find information on them at the Transient Name Server Site (like the link I posted above).

If I had made an observation of it, and since it is an interesting event, I think I would contact the discoverer(s) of such an event, tell them I had observations at  such and such timestamps, taken with such and such equipment (aperture, filters, angular resolution)  and ask them if they could make use of that observation, or if they know anyone who could be interested. I guess that maximizes the chances of your observations to make scientific impact. Especially when the TNS site doesn't show a lot of other observations. I would go for it! Good luck!


American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
Oh, and as we now know it's…

Oh, and as we now know it's a (recurring?) Nova in M31, the CV observing section might be a good place as well to discuss this: https://www.aavso.org/cataclysmic-variables