Deep Learning Transient Detection with VERITAS

VERITAS collaboration

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Ground-based γ-ray observatories, such as the VERITAS array of imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes, provide insight into very-high-energy (VHE, E > 100 GeV) astrophysical transient events. Examples include the evaporation of primordial black holes, gamma-ray bursts and flaring blazars. Identifying such events with a serendipitous location and time of occurrence is difficult. Thus, employing a robust search method becomes crucial. An implementation of a transient detection method based on deep-learning techniques for VERITAS will be presented. This data-driven approach significantly reduces the dependency on the characterization of the instrument response and the modelling of the expected transient signal. The response of the instrument is affected by various factors, such as the elevation of the source and the night sky background. The study of these effects allows enhancing the deep learning method with additional parameters to infer their influences on the data. This improves the performance and stability for a wide range of observational conditions. We illustrate our method for an historic flare of the blazar BL Lac that was detected by VERITAS in October 2016. We find a promising performance for the detection of such a flare in timescales of minutes that compares well with the VERITAS standard analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number822
JournalProceedings of Science
StatePublished - Mar 18 2022
Event37th International Cosmic Ray Conference, ICRC 2021 - Virtual, Berlin, Germany
Duration: Jul 12 2021Jul 23 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
the Helmholtz Association in Germany. This research used resources provided by the Open Science Grid, which is supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and resources of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility operated under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. We acknowledge the excellent work of the technical support staff at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory and at the collaborating institutions in the construction and operation of the instrument. K. Pfrang acknowledges the support of the Young Investigators Program of the Helmholtz Association.

Funding Information:
This research is supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution, by NSERC in Canada, and by

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright owned by the author(s) under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


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