The Simulated Catalogue of Optical Transients and Correlated Hosts (SCOTCH)

Martine Lokken, Alexander Gagliano, Gautham Narayan, Renée Hložek, Richard Kessler, John Franklin Crenshaw, Laura Salo, Catarina S Alves, Deep Chatterjee, Maria Vincenzi, Alex I Malz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As we observe a rapidly growing number of astrophysical transients, we learn more about the diverse host galaxy environments in which they occur. Host galaxy information can be used to purify samples of cosmological Type Ia supernovae, uncover the progenitor systems of individual classes, and facilitate low-latency follow-up of rare and peculiar explosions. In this work, we develop a novel data-driven methodology to simulate the time-domain sky that includes detailed modelling of the probability density function for multiple transient classes conditioned on host galaxy magnitudes, colours, star formation rates, and masses. We have designed these simulations to optimize photometric classification and analysis in upcoming large synoptic surveys. We integrate host galaxy information into the SNANA simulation framework to construct the simulated catalogue of optical transients and correlated hosts (SCOTCH, a publicly available catalogue of 5-million idealized transient light curves in LSST passbands and their host galaxy properties over the redshift range 0 < z < 3. This catalogue includes supernovae, tidal disruption events, kilonovae, and active galactic nuclei. Each light curve consists of true top-of-the-galaxy magnitudes sampled with high (≲2 d) cadence. In conjunction with SCOTCH, we also release an associated set of tutorials and transient-specific libraries to enable simulations of arbitrary space- and ground-based surveys. Our methodology is being used to test critical science infrastructure in advance of surveys by the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and the Nancy G. Roman Space Telescope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberstad302
Pages (from-to)2887-2912
Number of pages26
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Early online dateJan 30 2023
StatePublished - Apr 1 2023


  • transients: supernovae
  • catalogues
  • software: simulations


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