LIGO/Virgo Public Alerts User Guide¶
Welcome to the LIGO/Virgo Public Alerts User Guide! This document is intended for both professional astronomers and science enthusiasts who are interested in receiving alerts and real-time data products related to gravitational-wave (GW) events.
Three sites (LHO, LLO, Virgo) together form a global network of ground-based GW detectors. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration jointly analyze the data in real time to detect and localize transients from compact binary mergers and other sources. When a signal candidate is found, an alert is sent to astronomers in order to search for counterparts (electromagnetic waves or neutrinos).
Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo began their third observing run (O3) on April 1, 2019. Observations were suspended on March 27, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Observing schedule updates will be posted once it is known when it will be safe to resume normal activities at the sites.
LIGO/Virgo alerts are public. Alerts are distributed through NASA’s Gamma-ray Coordinates Network (GCN). There are two types of alerts: human-readable GCN Circulars and machine-readable GCN Notices. This document provides a brief overview of the procedures for vetting and sending GW alerts, describes their contents and format, and includes instructions and sample code for receiving GCN Notices and decoding GW sky maps.
- Getting Started Checklist
- Observing Capabilities
- Data Analysis
- Alert Contents
- Sample Code
- Additional Resources
- ✨Early-Warning Alerts