Aitor Ibarra Ibaibarriaga

Mr. Aitor Ibarra is a Software Engineer with more than 15 years of experience in software development for scientific experiments. He has been involved in scientific astronomical projects with European universities and research organizations. He has developed data processing software and monte-carlo simulations for the high-energy ground-based telescopes. Currently he is in charge of the development of the analysis software for ESA´s astronomical X-ray mission XMM-Newton. He is also experienced in web application development oriented for data processing in Grid environments.

Affiliation – XMM-Newton Science Operation Centre (ESAC/ESA) Position – Software Engineer Twitter –


Supporting observatory coordination with new standards: current status

Multi-messenger astronomy and the observation of transient sources promise to address during the next decade some of the most important questions in astrophysics, Gravitational Relativity, and other subjects like, e.g. the origin of ultra-energetic cosmic rays.

However, one of the main obstacles to create coordinated observation plans between heterogeneous observatories is the lack of standards. With different wavelength coverage, space or ground based facilities with totally different technical properties, users need tools for fast discovery of metadata and scheduling in a transparent way without expert knowledge on the telescope itself. To address this issue, during the Kavli–IAU Workshop on Multi-Messenger and Transient Astronomy, a white paper was produced identifying as first recommendation on Telescope Coordination the proposal of endorsement by IAU of the IVOA standard on observations planning discovery (Observation Locator Table Access Protocol - ObsLocTAP). Also, a second standard for target visibility by a certain observatory (Object Visibility Simple Access Protocol - ObjVisSAP) is under development by IVOA. By implementing these standards, observatories will allow scientists to discover observation periods when a certain astronomical target is visible for different observatories, identify coordinated observations, discover scheduled observations and to follow-up changes in the scheduling plan.

We will present the use cases to be solved, the technical description and engineering architecture of the ObsLocTAP and ObjVisSAP IVOA standards designed by this team, the level of implementation of the services by different observatories, client implementations and feedback received from different hands-on workshops and challenges to be solved to implement these protocols.

Finally, we will review other future possible standards that could be defined to facilitate all the rest of the steps of the coordinated observations proposals, from the scientific idea to the final observation.