International  Virtual  Observatory  Alliance
IVOA Documents

Sky Event Reporting Metadata (VOEvent)
Version 2.0

IVOA Proposed Recommendation 27 June 2011

Interest/Working Group:
Rob Seaman, Roy Williams, Alasdair Allan, Scott Barthelmy, Joshua Bloom, John Brewer, Robert Denny, Michael Fitzpatrick, Matthew Graham, Norman Gray, Frederic Hessman, Szabolcs Marka, Arnold Rots, Tom Vestrand, Przemyslaw Wozniak
Rob Seaman, Roy Williams


VOEvent [20] defines the content and meaning of a standard information packet for representing, transmitting, publishing and archiving information about a transient celestial event, with the implication that timely follow-up is of interest. The objective is to motivate the observation of targets-of-opportunity, to drive robotic telescopes, to trigger archive searches, and to alert the community. VOEvent is focused on the reporting of photon events, but events mediated by disparate phenomena such as neutrinos, gravitational waves, and solar or atmospheric particle bursts may also be reported. Structured data is used, rather than natural language, so that automated systems can effectively interpret VOEvent packets. Each packet may contain zero or more of the "who, what, where, when & how" of a detected event, but in addition, may contain a hypothesis (a "why") regarding the nature of the underlying physical cause of the event. Citations to previous VOEvents may be used to place each event in its correct context. Proper curation is encouraged throughout each event's life cycle from discovery through successive follow-ups. VOEvent packets gain persistent identifiers and are typically stored in databases reached via registries. VOEvent packets may therefore reference other packets in various ways. Packets are encouraged to be small and to be processed quickly. This standard does not define a transport layer or the design of clients, repositories, publishers or brokers; it does not cover policy issues such as who can publish, who can build a registry of events, who can subscribe to a particular registry, nor the intellectual property issues.

Status of this document

This is an IVOA Proposed Recommendation made available for public review.
It is appropriate to reference this document only as a recommended standard that is under review and which may be changed before it is accepted as a full recommendation.

Available formats: PDF, DOC

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