Gamma Ray Burst
This is just a stub page for now, to collect links and snippets of information as we learn them.
A while ago (2004ish), NASA approved my application to get the downlink feed from their satellite network of gamma ray burst detectors. I set up a server to receive the feed and wrote some code to parse the output from the feed and create a basic early warning system for giant space explosions.
- NASA distributes GRB data by connecting over the internet to a hardcoded list of destination machines running listener programs.
- NASA distributes a sample listener program, socket_demo.c
- GCN INTERNET SOCKET PACKET DEFINITION DOC describes the protocol socket_demo.c implements.
- To receive a data feed, you must submit an application requesting your hostname be added to the hardcoded list of destination machines. (Dr. Jesus mentioned that it can be difficult for non-astronomers to get their applications approved.)
- The current list of hosts NASA is pushing data to can be seen here. Dr. Jesus controls the machines named GSEDS1, GSEDS2, and GSEDS3. (It's amusing to note that NASA allocated a different destination port for each remote host.)
- Dr. Jesus ran an IRC bot, rbt_jesus.py, which effectively did a "tail -f" of socket_demo.log, looked for lines containing the string "This is a GRB", and when found, announced in a given IRC channel, "Giant space explosion detected!".