Gaia transient detection efficiency: hunting for nuclear transients

Nadejda Blagorodnova, Sjoert Van Velzen, Diana L. Harrison, Sergey Koposov, Seppo Mattila, Heather Campbell, Nicholas A. Walton, Lukasz Wyrzykowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a study of the detectability of transient events associated with galaxies for the Gaia European Space Agency astrometric mission. We simulated the on-board detections, and on-ground processing for a mock galaxy catalogue to establish the properties required for the discovery of transient events by Gaia, specifically tidal disruption events (TDEs) and supernovae (SNe). Transients may either be discovered by the on-board detection of a new source or by the brightening of a previously known source. We show that Gaia transients can be identified as new detections on-board for offsets from the host galaxy nucleus of 0.1--0.5, arcsec, depending on magnitude and scanning angle. The Gaia detection system shows no significant loss of SNe at close radial distances to the nucleus. We used the detection efficiencies to predict the number of transients events discovered by Gaia. For a limiting magnitude of 19, we expect around 1300 SNe per year: 65% SN Ia, 28% SN II and 7% SN Ibc, and ~20 TDEs per year.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Early online date4 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • astro-ph.IM
  • astro-ph.GA

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