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gaia data release 3 documentation

20.9 Science alert tables

20.9.1 science_alerts

Table containing all Gaia Photometric Science Alerts triggered in the period 25-07-2014 to 28-05-2017, i.e. the time span covered by DR3.
A Gaia Photometric Science Alert is known to the community by its name Gaiannxyz where nn is the year number and xyz is an incrementing, alphabetic sequence starting at aaa. Science alerts have their details published on the WWW. Given the name of an alert, the URL for the published details can be derived, e.g. for alert Gaia18ahj.
The source_id associated with the alert may have other alternative matches in Gaia DR3. These other identifiers are listed in table alerts_mixedin_sourceids.

Columns description:

source_id : Unique source identifier (unique within a particular Data Release) (long)

A unique single numerical identifier of the source obtained from gaia_source (for a detailed description see gaia_source.source_id).

transit_id : Alerting transit identifier (long)

The transit_id is a unique identifier assigned to each detected (and confirmed) source as it transits the Gaia focal plane. Each time a given source is detected as Gaia scans and re-scans the sky a new transit_id will be created to badge that apparition. Hence the along–scan time and the across–scan position along with the telescope in which the source was detected are used to form a unique integer with which to label the transit.

The several features of a detection that are encoded in transit_id can be easily retrieved using bit masks (&) and shifts () as follows:

  • On-Board Mission Time line [ns]
    = 204800 * ((transit_id 17) & (0x000003FFFFFFFFFF))

  • Field-of-view = 1 + (transit_id 15) & 0x03 [1 for ‘preceding’ and 2 for ‘following’ fields-of-view respectively]

  • CCD row = (transit_id 12) & 0x07 [dimensionless, in the range 1 to 7]

  • Across-scan ‘reference acquisition pixel’ in strip AF1 = (transit_id) & 0x0FFF [pixels] (this is the across-scan centre of the AF1 window and is odd if immediately below the mid-point of the window and even if immediately above)

where the bit mask prefix ‘0x’ denotes hexadecimal.

For further details see Portell et al. (2020). For convenience a decoder for transit_id is available on-line at

name : Name of alert (string)

Name of the alert, in the format ‘Gaiannabc’, where nn is the year-number and abc is an incrementing, alphabetic sequence, starting at aaa in each year.

solution_id : Solution Identifier (long)

All Gaia data processed by the Data Processing and Analysis Consortium comes tagged with a solution identifier. This is a numeric field attached to each table row that can be used to unequivocally identify the version of all the subsystems that were used in the generation of the data as well as the input data used. It is mainly for internal DPAC use but is included in the published data releases to enable end users to examine the provenance of processed data products. To decode a given solution ID visit