As of May 27th, when AMON sent the first real-time alert to the Gamma-ray Coordinates Network (GCN), the AMON real-time phase has officially begun!
Currently, every time the IceCube neutrino detector detects two or more neutrinos within a 100 second time window, with arrival directions separated by 3 degrees or less, an AMON alert is generated, and broadcast within 5 minutes of the neutrino observation at the South Pole. Such neutrino “multiplets” could be the sign of transient astrophysical activity, hence there is much excitement among AMON partners that it is now possible to perform follow-up observations of the locations from which the IceCube neutrinos seem to originate, almost instantaneously. The detection of simultaneous astrophysical signals from more than one AMON partner experiments, would open a new window to the high-energy universe, that of transient multi-messenger astrophysics. The IceCube alerts are blinded at present (time-scrambled). They will be unblinded later this summer.
GCN, Nasa’s transient astronomy network, acts as AMON’s “broadcasting partner”. As such it distributes the AMON generated alerts instantaneously, to all triggering and follow-up telescopes that are AMON partners. In future, if approved by AMON partners, these alerts could be made public in real-time by GCN, expanding the opportunities of astrophysical transient detection. At present, AMON accepts proposals from interested facilities to become AMON partners, who will have the ability to receive GCN distributed real-time AMON alerts. The GCN link that is now live, means that as soon as an experiment joins/starts sending data to AMON, real-time alerts will be generated and distributed to partner experiments. A partial list of experiments that have signed the AMON MOU can be found here. A number of further facilities are currently in the process of joining AMON.
The AMON cyber-infrastracture has been developed by Gordana Tešić. The AMON-GCN real-time link has been made possible thanks to Gordana, and Scott Barthelmy, who is the principal investigator of GCN.