AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002
Session 87. Building a Virtual Observatory
Special Session Oral, Thursday, June 6, 2002, 2:00-3:30pm, Ruidoso/Pecos

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[87.02] The NSF ITR Project: Framework for the National Virtual Observatory

A.S. Szalay (The Johns Hopkins University), R. D. Williams (California Institute of Technology), NVO Collaboration

Technological advances in telescope and instrument design during the last ten years, coupled with the exponential increase in computer and communications capability, have caused a dramatic and irreversible change in the character of astronomical research. Large-scale surveys of the sky from space and ground are being initiated at wavelengths from radio to x-ray, thereby generating vast amounts of high quality irreplaceable data. The potential for scientific discovery afforded by these new surveys is enormous. Entirely new and unexpected scientific results of major significance will emerge from the combined use of the resulting datasets, science that would not be possible from such sets used singly. However, their large size and complexity require tools and structures to discover the complex phenomena encoded within them.

We plan to build the NVO framework both through coordinating diverse efforts already in existence and providing a focus for the development of capabilities that do not yet exist. The NVO we envisage will act as an enabling and coordinating entity to foster the development of further tools, protocols, and collaborations necessary to realize the full scientific potential of large astronomical datasets in the coming decade. The NVO must be able to change and respond to the rapidly evolving world of IT technology. In spite of its underlying complex software, the NVO should be no harder to use for the average astronomer, than today’s brick-and-mortar observatories and telescopes. Development of these capabilities will require close interaction and collaboration with the information technology community and other disciplines facing similar challenges. We need to ensure that the tools that we need exist or are built, but we do not duplicate efforts, and rely on relevant experience of others.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://us-vo.org. 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: szalay@jhu.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.