Astronomical surveys are producing ever increasing catalogs of new discoveries at ever faster rates and astronomers have found it necessary to build database-driven systems to handle the flood of information on their targets, observations, and data products - Target and Observation Managers or TOMs.
TOM systems offer users a powerful way to display and interact with their own data through a browser or GUI. These systems are rapidly becoming more powerful and are able to submit requests for observations directly to networked telescope facilities and harvest data products. When coupled with the astronomer's own analysis software, these systems are capable of conducting entirely automated follow-up programs, including rapid response to new target alerts.
Until now, building a TOM system has required specialist expertise in database and software development, restricting it to a subset of larger projects.
The TOM Toolkit is an open-source software package which enables users to easily build a TOM system and customize it for their science. Built by LCO's own team of professional software engineers in collaboration with scientists, the Toolkit can be used as a stand-alone package to build a TOM from scratch, or as a library of useful functions, astropy-style.
The Toolkit comes with a wide-range of functions to support observing programs and is designed to be extended - community contributions are welcome. We are currently working with a number of other observatories to integrate support for observations on their facilities, as well as external broker services.
The Toolkit includes:
To download the Toolkit, and find its documentation, visit us at https://tomtoolkit.github.io/.
To see a TOM Toolkit-built TOM in action, click here.
For a full description of the Toolkit's design and astronomical motivations, see Street et al., 2018, SPIE, 10707, 11.
Community Contributions Welcome!
The Toolkit has been designed to make it easy to develop plugins to interface with external software and resources, such as additional telescope facilities. For example, Bryan Miller has developed a plugin to allow observations requests to be submitted to the Gemini telescopes.
The TOM Toolkit is managed by Las Cumbres Observatory, with generous financial support from the Zegar Family Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation.