New website offers project collaboration and community involvement

(For immediate release)

AstroGrid, a three year, PPARC-funded, e-Science project, which forms the UK's contribution to world-wide efforts to build a Virtual Observatory based on Grid technologies, announces the availability of several new, web-based, collaboration tools.

The static pages of the project portal, now located at, present background information about the project plus links to core documents and the new collaboration tools. These tools allow AstroGrid to open its doors to both the astronomy and grid technology communities. In the true spirit of e-Science, AstroGrid invites members of these communities and anyone else with an interest in either field to collaborate on its project.

The News site ( is the central part of the AstroGrid webs. Updates are posted several times a day and include news stories, event announcements and polls. Any registered user can add any of these and most allow the opportunity for feedback to be added.

The Forum ( provides an area for topic-based discussions to develop as well as a place for novices to ask questions and those with problems to seek solutions. Again, any user can create a new topic or can add comments to existing topics.

The Wiki ( is the most unusual and exciting area of the site. A wiki is a form of web site that allows the registered user to actually change the content of the site, adding comments or new sections to existing pages or creating their own pages. The site includes help pages, a tutorial and an experimental wiki where users can try things out without fear of damaging existing content. It is divided into a number of webs: one for the AstroGrid project, several general webs for VO, Grid etc areas, and support webs such as the tutorial and test pages.

The AstroGrid project team have been using these tools for several weeks and have found them an invaluable aid to project communication and collaboration. Documents that have already been posted include a large number of science problems that a VO might aid in solving, meeting reports and minutes and several papers that propose solutions for aspects of the AstroGrid software architecture.

We now look forward to discussing our existing work with interested parties and to their contributing their own ideas and solutions.

About AstroGrid

The AstroGrid project ( aims at producing a working datagrid for key selected databases, with associated datamining facilities, by late 2004. It is part of the world-wide drive towards the concept of a Virtual Observatory (VO), and can be seen as the UK contribution to this vision. It covers astronomy, solar physics, and space plasma (solar terrestrial) physics, and all wavelengths from radio to X- ray. The project priority is to develop a virtual observatory capability to support efficient and effective exploitation of key astronomical data sets of importance to the UK community : for example data from WFCAM, VISTA, XMM-SSC, e-MERLIN, SOHO and Cluster. AstroGrid is therefore a partnership formed by UK archive centres and astronomical computer scientists.

There are seven institutions involved in the AstroGrid consortium:

Background Sources

Virtual Observatories:

European AVO Project:

US NVO Project:

Grid Technologies:

UK Grid Support Centre:

Global Grid Forum:


e-Science Core Programme:




Key AstroGrid Links






Project Leader:

Prof Andy Lawrence (
Institute for Astronomy, University of Edinburgh
+44 (0131) 668 8346

Project Scientist:

Dr Nic Walton (
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
+44 (01223) 337503

Project Manager:

Tony Linde (
Dept of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester
+44 (0116) 223 1292