Multi-messenger astronomy

The multi-messenger approach to astronomy makes use of the messenger particles of all four of nature’s fundamental forces to explore and understand the most violent phenomena in the universe, such as GRBs, AGNs, FRBs and supernova. A number of novel astronomical observatories, first imagined a generation ago, are now operational and providing access to cosmic probes such as neutrinos (IceCube/KM3NeT), gravitational waves (LIGO/VIRGO), charged particles (AUGER/TA) and photons (HESS, CTA, HAWC, Fermi/Swift, etc.). Due to its full sky coverage and 100% duty cycle KM3NeT is ideally suited for the detection of transient astrophysical sources of neutrinos. Furthermore, the excellent angular resolution of KM3NeT is well matched to the narrow field of view of many of the photonic observatories. Rapid provision of alerts for interesting neutrino events will enable both ground and space based observatories to quickly point in the direction of the alert. This fast follow-up will be vital to catch any multi-messenger and multi-wavelength counterparts of these cataclysmic but short-lived phenomena.

In the context of the KM3NeT INFRADEV project, KM3NeT will be integrates as an indispensable partner of the Multimessenger astroparticle community. This will necessitate that KM3NeT can swiftly generate and distribute real-time alerts of interesting neutrino detections to the partner observatories. Reciprocally, KM3NeT should be capable to receive realtime alerts from partner observatories and use them to enhance the KM3NeT detection sensitivity for a short period around the time of the external alert. An important aspect of the work package will be the establishment of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with the relevant astronomical observatories.

To realise this, several developments are necessary and will be conducted: algorithms for fast real-time event reconstruction; a real-time system to distribute neutrino alerts to the worldwide astrophysical community; a real-time system to receive alerts from the other observatories and store the complete raw data on disk for a short duration around the alert; real-time algorithms for the detection of nearby supernova explosions and integrate within the worldwide SNEWS alert system; MoUs with relevant astronomical telescopes and satellites will be established.

See also: “Report on the discussion on Memorandum of Understanding with external astronomical partners“.

In due time, other project outputs will be published comprising: “Report on the online event reconstruction development”, “Report on the online alert sending and receiving system”, Report on the online physics analysis” and “Report on the online SN detection system”