AAS 206th Meeting, 29 May - 2 June 2005
Session 5 Public Observatories and Informal Astronomy
Poster, Monday, 9:20am-6:30pm, Tuesday, 10:00am-7:00pm, May 30, 2005, Ballroom A

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[5.09] The Virtual Cosmos Project: Astronomical Data access for General Public via the National Virtual Observatory

N. Craig, B. J. Mendez (UC Berkeley, Space Sciences Laboratory), R.J. Hanisch, C. A Christian, F. Summers (STScI), B. Haisch, J. Lindblom (ManyOne Networks)

We will describe the development of protocols to make Astronomy press-release quality images from HST and other sources publicly available through compatibility with the National Virtual Observatory (NVO). We will present the designs for a public portal to these resources, based on a robust evaluation of our intended audience. The availability of press-release quality materials via the NVO through a simplified interface will greatly enhance the utility of these materials for the public. Behind any portal to NVO data there is a standard registry and data structures that allow collections of data (such as the press release images) to be located and acquired. We will describe our design of the necessary protocols and metadata being used within the NVO framework for this project. We base our meta-tags on the considerable existing work done in the science community as well as the NASA education community. These refined metadata are applied to new HST press-release images as they are produced and registered with the NVO. We will describe methods for retrofitting pre-existing imagery with the metadata standards. The rich media, 3D navigation and visualization capabilities of the browser created by ManyOne Network Inc. are particularly well suited to the presentation of astronomical information and ever more detailed models of the local neighborhood, the Milky Way, etc. We will discuss the 3D navigation and visualization capabilities of the browser with particular focus on the Milky Way Galaxy. Development of an online encyclopedia to accompany the ManyOne portals as part of the Virtual Cosmos will also be described. Support from NASA's AISR Program is gratefully acknowledged.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #2
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.