Main page‎ > ‎Observing Runs‎ > ‎

ATEL guidelines

Guidelines for submitting PESSTO ATels : co-authorship and discovery credits 

It is the responsibility of the observers and data reducers to submit an ATEL within 24 hours of each observing night. This ATEL should list all new classifications that were made during the night.
Each ATEL can follow this generic outline, filling in the table of classifications as appropriate. Smartt et al. 2015, A&A, 579, 40 with fuller details on the survey.
For "Disc. source" use one of  PS1, ATLAS, ASASSN, OGLE, (LSQ, SkyMapper) etc a different survey, or TNS, as appropriate.
Note that in the example below, the table should be formatted with spaces rather than tabs. The <pre> tag will ensure that the formatting of the table is preserved, but it may not show up correctly when you go to "Preview ATEL". It will, however, appear fine when the ATEL is actually published.
Don't forget to replace the OBS MONTH and OBS DAY values in the ATel example below.

And don't forget the title should be from April 24th 2019 onwards 

ePESSTO+ spectroscopic classification of optical transients
ePESSTO+, the advanced Public ESO Spectroscopic Survey for Transient Objects (see Smartt et al. 2015, A&A, 579, 40 ),
reports the following supernova classifications. Targets were supplied by the La Silla-Quest survey (see Baltay et al.,
PASP, 2013, 125, 683), and ...... (see blow). All observations were performed on the ESO New Technology Telescope 
at La Silla on 2012 <*** OBS MONTH ***> <*** OBS DAY ***>, using EFOSC2 and Grism 13 (3985-9315A, 18A resolution).  
Classifications were done with SNID (Blondin & Tonry, 2007, ApJ, 666, 1024) and GELATO (Harutyunyan et al., 
2008, A&A, 488, 383). Classification spectra and additional details can be obtained 
from (via WISeREP) and the IAU Transient Name Server.
</p> <pre> Survey Name | IAU Name | RA (J2000) | Dec (J2000) | Disc. Date | Source | Disc Mag | z | Type | Phase | Notes
LSQ16xy | SN2016XXX | 00 00 00 | -45 00 00.5 | 20120401 | LSQ | 19.0 | 0.005 | Ia | -5d | (1)
</pre> <p> (1) Line velocities indicate similar to SN2011fe at -10d before max .... <br />

(Note for formatting - sometimes the ATel parser gets confused if you use the text "pre" (for example, pre-explosion)
since it confuses it with the pre formatting text tag. Ways round this are to remove the hyphen, e.g. use preSN instead
of pre-SN, and prepeak rather than pre-peak.
  • As of July 2016, the ‘Survey Name’ column should refer to the survey name and the IAU-designated name for the object should be in the table as shown. This is to ensure the survey contributors are happy with their inputs and that it is easy to tell the source. It also ensures that the IAU name is propagated and this is similar as is being adopted in other ATels by PTF, ASASSN, ATLAS etc.  
  • For classified SNe, this should start with ’SN’, while for other classified transients such as variable stars etc. the ‘AT’ prefix should be used. 
  • The discovery survey name should always be used (even if we have selected it due to ATLAS lightcurve information). 
  • In particular, ASASSN only give ASASSN names to those that they register first on the TNS (i.e. are ASASSN discoveries), so if ASASSN name exists, use that (you can always check on the TNS link).
  • If the survey name is long e.g. CSS or MASTER then it's OK to abbreviate the long name in the "Survey name column" and then put the long, full name in the table notes. 
  • When you are submitting the ATel, make sure that Ofer and Ilan (WISEREP) either have the data or will get it very soon after - we are advertising that the data are available in this ATel. In fact it is a much better idea to send the data to WISEREP before starting to draft the ATel, that way everyone can easily see the spectra and help you with comments on the classifications. 
  • ATel Keywords: The appropriate ones to use are Waveband="Optical" and Objects="Supernovae".
  • Flag the email as "Instant email notice" by selecting "Supernovae" rather than "None".
  • It's a good idea to turn-off the spell-checker so that the preview works fine. The spell-check can garble the preview
  • If you can't identify an object on an acquisition image and do not take a spectrum then apply the following rules. If it was not a publicly released target (e.g. LSQ) then do not add it to the ATel, but do record this information in the marshall. If it was a publicly released target (e.g. an AT from the IAU TNS page), then do record this information in the ATEL, since it is useful for the community. 
  • If you think that the PESSTO observation was an incorrect identification and a spectrum was taken of the wrong object then do not add to the ATel, but do record this information in the marshall
  • If you only get host galaxy spectrum then do include the object in the ATel with a note that only host galaxy light visible
  • If the classification is uncertain, but there is signal from the transient, then do include this information in the ATel. It is fine to leave it as unknown, but ensure that ATel records that it has been observed, and that the data are publicly available. 
  • For the phase - either use the exact day that comes from the SNID or Gelato (or superfit) cross-match or use one of the following   

  • < –10
    –10 to –8
    –7 to –4 
    –3 to +3 (or just "at max” which we will take to mean these days) 
    +4 to +7 
    +8 to +10 
    +11 to +20 
    > +20 (or “several weeks after max”)
         These phases tie into the numbers we will be using in the ESO catalogue. 

What and when to submit    

1. We should report info on any object for which we have a spectrum, even if its stellar, AGN, or host galaxy dominated. Of course, info should also be reported and preserved in the Marshall. We should do this for every object we actually take a spectrum of. And these spectra should go to WISEREP, and Phase3. 

2. Even if the classification is ambiguous or not possible, the spectrum should be reported in the ATel. A simple description of the first spectrum should be provided. For example, blue featureless continuum objects are common and these should be reported as such. Additional information can be provided in the next ATel when a higher S/N spectrum is taken. But as a rule, always record the first spectrum taken and a qualitative description if classification is not possible. 

3. We should NOT report info in ATELs that private objects which were not in the public domain are invisible (if we don't go on to take a spectrum). Remember, such targets have never been publicly announced, therefore we should not make statements of the non-existence of unannounced objects. But it is essential that the observers/reducers record the info in the Marshall to feedback to LSQ team. 

4. If objects have been publicly announced (e.g. MASTER, PSN, CSS, PS1) and we then find they are not visible, then we should indeed report this info in the ATEL. This is useful info to propagate to the community.  

ATEL Authorship

1. ePESSTO+ observers at the telescope for that night,
2. ePESSTO+ data reducers for that night 
3. Target and alert team members on duty - those people who have been through the lists to help select the classification targets. You can see them on the marshall or on this page of the duty roster.

3. Other PESSTO/ePESSTO/ePESSTO+ members :  who have helped out with the classifications specifically of the objects reported, or provided other photometry or data for those objects. We very much encourage this interaction, and addition  

These first two lists can be rotated around at the discretion of the observers and data reducers. 

Then the following :

4. The ePESSTO+ builders list (temporary) (For all ATels from Year 1)  ePESSTO_Policies#TOC-ePESSTO-ATELs.  : J. Anderson (ESO), T. Muller Bravo (Southampton), T.-W. Chen (Stockholm), M. Gromadzki (Warsaw), C. Inserra (Cardiff), E. Kankare (Turku), M. Nicholl (Birmingham), O. Yaron (Weizmann), D. Young (QUB)

5. I. Manulis (Weizmann) will be the WISeREP person on duty and will do the data upload to WISeREP, and should be added to the ATel author list.  

6. Feeder survey lists

For (6), if a target from a given feeder survey is used (i.e. is listed under "Disc. source" in the ATEL table) then the following people and acknowledgements should be added to the ATEL:

ZTF:   No co-authorship required. But add to the text : Targets were supplied by the Zwicky Transient Facility (; Kulkarni
et al. 2018, ATel 11266) data stream processed through the Lasair broker ( 

Pan-STARRS:  Add this to the ATel text "Targets were supplied by Pan-STARRS Survey for Transients (see Chambers et al. 2016, arXiv:1612.05560, and "
 and  add the authors :  
S. J. Smartt, K. W. Smith, D. R. Young, S. Srivastav (QUB), K. C. Chambers, T. de Boer, J. Bulger, J. Fairlamb, M. Huber, C.-C. Lin, T. Lowe, E. Magnier, A. Schultz, R. J. Wainscoat, M. Willman (IfA, Univ. Hawaii)

ATLAS :  add this to the ATel text : "Targets were supplied by the ATLAS survey, see Tonry et al. (2018, PASP, 130,  064505)".  And add the co-authors 
 J. Tonry,  L. Denneau, A. Heinze, H. Weiland, H. Flewelling (IfA, Univ. of Hawaii),  B. Stalder (LSST), A. Rest (STScI), K. W. Smith, S. J. Smartt, O. McBrien, S. Srivastav, D. R. Young (QUB). 

NOTE: If ATLAS or Pan-STARRS find an object but it is reported publicly by another survey but not reported to TNS by that survey (e.g. as is often the case with MASTER), then ATLAS or Pan-STARRS MUST report it to TNS.   We then report as normal in the ATel with AT name and our own PS or ATLAS name.  Then in the footnotes to the table we acknowledge: 

1. Discovered on YYYYMMDD as MASTER OT JRADEC, etc.  See ATel #nnnnn.

SkyMapper:  A. Moller, B. Tucker, B. Zhang, B. Schmidt (Australian National University) and cite Scalzo et al. ATel #5480. 

The HITS survey with DECam (Chilean collaboration) : F. Forster, J.C. Maureira, J. San Martin, G. Cabrera, Eduardo Vera (CMM), Mario Hamuy, S. Gonzalez-Gaitan, Lluis Galbany, Th. de Jaeger (DAS), Joseph Anderson (ESO), Giuliano Pignata (UNAB), and R. Chris Smith (CTIO)

OGLE : L. Wyrzykowski,(Warsaw Observatory, Poland) and cite   "OGLE-IV Real-time Transient Search (Wyrzykowski et al., 2014 arxiv:1409.1095;"

GREAT :  T.-W. Chen (MPE) and cite Chen et al. 2018, ApJ, 867L, 31 
More details of GREAT project:

Note: Please add this sentence to the classification ATel:
"AT2018XXX was observed as part of the GREAT survey (Chen et al. 2018, ApJ, 867L, 31), having a black body temperature of T_BB  ~ XXX K obtained 
from the photometry taken on XX.XX.2018 with griz= XX,XX,XX,XX mag."
The magnitude information can be found in the marshall. 

La Silla Quest (LSQ): C. Baltay, N. Ellman, E. Hadjiyska, R. McKinnon, D. Rabinowitz, S. Rostami (Yale University), U. Feindt, M. Kowalski (Universitat Bonn), P. Nugent (LBL Berkeley) and cite Baltay et al. 2013, PASP, 125, 683

DLT40 Survey: S. Wyatt (Arizona), D. Sand (Arizona), R. Amaro (Arizona), J. Andrews (Arizona), M. Lundquist (Arizona), S. Valenti (UC Davis), S. Yang (INAF-OAPd), D. E. Reichart, J. B. Haislip, V. Kouprianov (UNC)

7. Acknowledging Public Surveys 

The following surveys release their data publicly and they are ingested into the marshal. Co-authorship of the ATels is not required, but acknowledgement is, and the appropriate text and citations are : 

ASASSN:  add this. Targets are are from the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae ASAS-SN (see Shappee et al. 2014, ApJ, 788, 48 and

GAIA : add this to ATel text : We acknowledge ESA Gaia, DPAC and the Photometric Science Alerts Team ( or 
"targets are from the ESA Gaia Photometric Science Alerts Team and DPAC ("
Use either, depending on how you phrase the ATel. 

CRTS : if targets come from CSS/MSS/SSS, which are surveys of the Catalina Real-time Transient Survey. Then add  "from the Catalina Real-time Transient Survey (CRTS; Drake et al. 2009, ApJ, 696, 870 ;" 

DES :  Dark Energy Survey Supernova Program (DES-SN) publishes its brighter (r ≲ 20) transient candidates. If these are classified then add "targets supplied by the Dark Energy Survey Supernova Program (see Kessler et al. 2015, AJ, 150, 172 and

MASTER :  "targets supplied by MASTER (see ; Lipunov et al. 2004, AN, 325, 580).  MASTER do not routinely report their discoveries to TNS.  So see notes for Pan-STARRS and ATLAS above.

PTSS :  "targets supplied by PMO-Tsinghua Transient Survey (PTSS; 

8. Amateurs: 
Virtually all amateurs now submit their targets to the IAU Transient Name Server  (i.e. the object has an AT2016xxx name). You should add "targets were taken from the IAU TNS list (see ".  We let the TNS deal with the discovery and classification certificates. 
No co-authorship is required, now that we have this stable, and IAU recognised,  platform for discovery attribution. 

Observing ATLAS and Pan-STARRS targets with other facilities 

We encourage anyone within ePESSTO+ to use the information we supply in the ePESSTO+ marshall to classify and observe transients with other facilities than the NTT. If you do, please update the marshall with the information and classify the targets. If you are submitting an ATel then use the following template (roughly, you can adjust to suit your specific needs) 

Observations of ATLAS18xxx/AT2018yyy with "some facility"
Authors : 
You as first authors + 
K. W. Smith, S. J. Smartt, O. McBrien, S. Srivastav, D. R. Young (QUB), D. E. Wright (Univ. of Minnesota), J. Tonry,  L. Denneau, A. Heinze, H. Weiland, H. Flewelling (IfA, Univ. of Hawaii),  B. Stalder (LSST), A. Rest (STScI)

As part of the broad ePESSTO+ ( collaboration we observed  ATLAS1yyy/AT2017yyy with ……
Targets were supplied by the ATLAS survey, see Tonry et al. (2011, PASP, 123, 58) 
and Tonry et al. (ATel #8680), and additional details can be obtained from the IAU Transient Name Server.

Details here 

Observations of PS18xxx/AT2018yyy with "some facility"
Authors : 
You as first authors + 
S. J. Smartt, K. W. Smith, O. McBrien, S. Srivastav, D. R. Young (QUB), D. E. Wright (Univ. of Minnesota), K. C. Chambers, T. de Boer, J. Bulger, J. Fairlamb, M. Huber, C.-C. Lin, T. Lowe, E. Magnier, A. Schultz, R. J. Wainscoat, M. Willman (IfA, Univ. of Hawaii)

As part of the broad ePESSTO+ ( collaboration we observed  ATLAS1yyy/AT2017yyy with ……
Targets were supplied by the Pan-STARRS Survey for Transients (see Chambers et al. 2016, arXiv:1612.05560, and Additional details can be obtained from the IAU Transient Name Server.

Details here .....