Modern astronomical surveys can now deliver tens of thousands of new discoveries every night, with alerts generated within minutes. Yet many will require additional observations in order to understand the physical phenomena and maximize the scientific return. Observatories providing this critical follow-up must become capable of responding on similar timescales and with a flexibility governed by the demands of the science.
The Astronomical Event Observatory Network (AEON) provides rapid, flexible, programmable access to world-class telescope facilities. AEON is a facility ecosystem for accessible and efficient follow up of astronomical transients and time-domain astronomy. At the heart of the network, Las Cumbres Observatory has joined forces with NOIRLab and its 4.1-meter SOAR Telescope, Gemini Observatory and soon the Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope to build such a network for the Vera C. Rubin Observatory era. SOAR was selected as the pathfinder facility for incorporating the 4-meter and larger telescopes into AEON.
Conceptual view of AEON receiving transient and other time-domain event data — now from the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) and soon from Rubin Observatory — and facilitates efficient follow-up with a range of telescopes within minutes.