AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 105. Mapping the Cosmos: A Variety of Surveys
Oral, Wednesday, January 8, 2003, 2:00-3:30pm, 606-607

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[105.07] SkyQuery - A Prototype Distributed Query and Cross-Matching Web Service for the Virtual Observatory

A.R. Thakar, T. Budavari, T. Malik, A.S. Szalay, G. Fekete, M. Nieto-Santisteban, V. Haridas (JHU), J. Gray (Microsoft BARC)

We have developed a prototype distributed query and cross-matching service for the VO community, called SkyQuery, which is implemented with hierarchichal Web Services. SkyQuery enables astronomers to run combined queries on existing distributed heterogeneous astronomy archives. SkyQuery provides a simple, user-friendly interface to run distributed queries over the federation of registered astronomical archives in the VO.

The SkyQuery client connects to the portal Web Service, which farms the query out to the individual archives, which are also Web Services called SkyNodes. The cross-matching algorithm is run recursively on each SkyNode. Each archive is a relational DBMS with a HTM index for fast spatial lookups. The results of the distributed query are returned as an XML DataSet that is automatically rendered by the client. SkyQuery also returns the image cutout corresponding to the query result.

SkyQuery finds not only matches between the various catalogs, but also dropouts - objects that exist in some of the catalogs but not in others. This is often as important as finding matches. We demonstrate the utility of SkyQuery with a brown-dwarf search between SDSS and 2MASS, and a search for radio-quiet quasars in SDSS, 2MASS and FIRST.

The importance of a service like SkyQuery for the worldwide astronomical community cannot be overstated: data on the same objects in various archives is mapped in different wavelength ranges and looks very different due to different errors, instrument sensitivities and other peculiarities of each archive. Our cross-matching algorithm preforms a fuzzy spatial join across multiple catalogs. This type of cross-matching is currently often done by eye, one object at a time. A static cross-identification table for a set of archives would become obsolete by the time it was built - the exponential growth of astronomical data means that a dynamic cross-identification mechanism like SkyQuery is the only viable option.

SkyQuery was funded by a grant from the NASA AISR program.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.skyquery.net/. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: budavari@pha.jhu.edu

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