Astronomical Data and the Virtual Observatory


A one-day session of the


21st International CODATA Conference: “Scientific Information for Society -
from Today to the Future”

Ukraine, Kyiv, 5 - 8 October, 2008

(Click here for main conference website)



SOC: Ray Norris1, Francoise Genova2, Bob Hanisch3, Tatyana Sergeeva4, Alex Szalay5, Dave DeYoung6

1.    CSIRO ATNF, Australia

2.    Centre Données de Strasbourg, France

3.    Space Telescope Science Institute, USA

4. Main Astronomical Observatory, Ukraine

5.    Johns Hopkins University, USA

6.    National Optical Astronomical Observatory, USA


Topics will include:

·         Role and operation of data centres and data services in the future

·         The Virtual Observatory and its commercial applications (Google Sky, WHT)

·         Interoperability

·         Managing Astronomical Data in the Petabyte era

·         Development of open access, data commons, information commons and open culture

·         Preserving and digitizing legacy data

·         Crossing the digital divide: Accessing scientific & technical data in developing countries

·         External threats to freedom of access


Invited Keynote Speakers (to be confirmed) will include:

·         George Djorgovski (Caltech): - “Virtual Astronomy and Computationally Enabled Science in the 21st Century”

·         Alex Szalay (JHU)  (TBD)

·         Francoise Genova (CDS) - “Astronomical Data Centres

·         Dave DeYoung (NOAO) - “The International Virtual Observatory Alliance

·         Paulo Padovani (ESO) – “Virtual Observatory Science Capabilities”


Contributed papers (to be confirmed) will include:

·         Masatoshi Ohishi – “The Japanese Virtual Observatory”

·         Oleg Malkov & Olga Dluzknevskaya – “The current status and future of the Russian Virtual Observatory”

·         Christophe Arviset et al. – “ESA Astronomical Archives in the VO Era”

·         Chéreau Fabien -“Stellarium/VirGO, an open source visual archive browser”

·         Oleg Verkhodanov, Sergei A. Trushkin, Heinz Andernach, & Vladimir N. Chernenkov - “The CATS database: astrophysical research tool”

·         Ludmila Pakuliak - “MySQL-based astronomical archive as the cornerstone of the virtual observatory”

·         Elizabeth Griffin - “Preserving and Digitizing Astronomy's Heritage Observations”

·         Aleksandr Sergeev & Tatyana Sergeeva – “Vision of digital Golosiiv Plate Archive creation as an element of Ukrainian Virtual Observatory”

·         Alexander Mazhaev & Yuri Protsyuk – “Astronomical Databases to Virtual Observatory”

·         Dmitry Briukhov et al. – “Application driven mediation middleware of the Russian Virtual Observatory for scientific problem solving over multiple heterogeneous distributed information resources”

·         Igor Chilingarian et al. – “VO Paris Data Center: VO access to complex observational and theoretical datasets”

·         Jianjun Yu, Kai Nan, & Lei Liu. – “Fits-Serv: A SOA Infrastructure for Massive Astronomical Data Archiving and Retrieval”

·         Pierre Le Sidaner et al. – “VO access to legacy surveys at VO Paris Data Centre”

·         James Thieman et al. – “Interoperability of the Heliophysics Virtual Observatory Data Location and Retrieval System”

·         Milcho Tsvetkov et al. – “Wide-Field Plate Database new development and analysis”

·         Areg M. Mickaelian et al. – “The DFBS Spectroscopic Database and the Armenian Virtual Observatory”



Poster papers (to be confirmed) will include:

·         Heinz Andernach - “Safeguarding old and new journal tables for the VO: Current status of extragalactic and radio data”

·         Nataly Bondar, Aleksey Shlyapnikov, Tatyana Sergeeva, Alex Golovin - Photometry of digital images from the Golosiiv Plate Archive

·         Tatyana Sergeeva et al. - Plate catalogs of Golosiiv Plate Archive. Towards Ukrainian Virtual Observatory

·         Tatyana Sergeeva et al. - New scientific applications for Golosiiv Plate Archive

·         Iakov Pustilnik – “The development of Data Mining Tools for Virtual Observatory”



Role of the Session within the Conference

We expect this session to be attended both by astronomers and by data specialists from other fields, such as those building geophysical Virtual Observatories, as well as data specialists from space sciences, life sciences, earth sciences, etc.. Similarly, this conference gives you a chance to find out what people in other disciplines are doing to address their data and VO challenges. For example, at the last CODATA conference, plenary speakers included Jim Gray and Tony Hey (Vice President for Technical Computing, Microsoft). You can expect to find people in other disciplines facing similar challenges to those being faced by astronomy, and we expect this to be a lively forum for cross-fertilization between fields, as well as a forum for astronomers to discuss astronomy-specific issues in a broader context.


Invitation to submit papers

If you wish to present a paper, please submit a short abstract via the main conference website ( , with a cc to Note that (a) the formal deadline for submission was 31 March 2008, but papers will actually continue to be accepted for a while, and (b) this session does not yet appear on the main conference website, but will hopefully do so shortly.






Staff space