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Keywords:

  • instrumentation: miscellaneous;
  • methods: observational;
  • standards;
  • telescopes

Abstract

Networks are becoming a key element in most current and all future, telescope and observatory projects. The ability to easily and efficiently pass observation data, alert data and instrumentation requests between distributed systems could enable science as never before. However, any effective large scale or meta-network of astronomical resources will require a common communication format or development resources will have to be continuously dedicated to creating interpreters. The necessary elements of any astronomy communication can be easily identified, efficiently described and rigidly formatted so that both robotic and human operations can use the same data. In this paper we will explore the current state of notification, what notification requirements are essential to create a successful standard and present a standard now under development by the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA), called the VOEvent. (© 2006 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)