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TDA-CSS delivers a service that provides all the stages necessary to deliver calibrated data on variable astronomical sources for global access and analysis. The service supports science use of a globally distributed set of telescopes (39 at present, 13 more to follow soon) coordinating their time-domain operation.In this sense, we provide a central managing facility to control and coordinate these dozens of facilities. 

The infrastructure for data acquisition, calibration and processing, developed during the previous OPTICON grant is used for the coordination of operation of the network in order to overcome the bottle-neck problem with the large amounts of data for processing. Common data processing from heterogeneous instruments provides science-ready data products in the time-domain, facilitating both rapid reactions to astrophysical phenomena (e.g. gravitational wave events) and long-term observing campaigns (e.g., microlensing events due to black holes). The central management tool feeds from the alert streams via brokers and handles the requests for observations from users. It facilitates research for scientists by eliminating the data processing bottleneck and enables amateurs and the general public to participate in science by providing scientifically valid and useful observations.  A few small facilities in isolation can produce little science – while as a globally coordinated network, they can become a cutting-edge global time-domain capability.

In the framework of the OPTICON-RadioNet Pilot, the TDA-CCS will be expanded to enlarge the network of small and medium-sized optical facilities and will extend to radio telescopes, including supporting observations on large facilities allocated time.

The main tasks of this TDA-CCS Virtual Access are:

  • Provide the users with an easy-to-operate tool (TDA-CCS) for requesting, processing and accessing time-domain observations from the global suite of telescopes, possibly including TNA-offered telescopes and voluntary telescopes;
  • Maintain the TDA-CCS tool, manual handling of errors in data requests and data processing;
  • Extending the network of telescopes for time-domain observations, incorporating them into the common operational system, providing necessary training for new partners;
  • Assessing the quality of the processed data in order to increase the reliability of the automated system and to improve the effectiveness of the service. Generate Quality Assessment reports in order to identify potential problems in the data processing chain and to provide feedback to the telescopes.
  • Organising annual workshops to report on the status of the network, updating the development of the networking tools and presenting scientific highlights achieved with the network. The workshops will also be a platform to receive feedback from the community and will help recognise the changing needs of the researchers. They are a critical aspect of performance and value for investment reporting and assessment;
  • Training the users and providing support (remote and on-site) to the observatories within the network, helping and advising on the data processing as well as further development of the instruments.
  • Provide data and reports to the external board which regularly assesses the Virtual Access programme, and provides reports to the Commission.

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