The US National Virtual Observatory hosted its second Summer School on 6-15 September 2005, at the Aspen Meadows Resort in Aspen, Colorado. Thirty-nine participants worked with experienced NVO scientists and software developers to learn how to do astrophysics with the Virtual Observatory. Participants learned how to use the data discovery, data access, and high-performance computing capabilities of the Virtual Observatory along with VO analysis tools and utilities. A series of software tutorials provided hands-on experience in using VO tools and services. Participants then had the opportunity to work on self-motivated projects, building VO-enabled applications and doing VO-enabled research.

The US NVO Project greatly appreciates the sponsorship of NSF and NASA for the Summer School, and thanks the participants for their attention and interest in the Virtual Observatory.

Lectures and Software

Below is the master index to the contents of this distribution. Material is organized as lecture notes, either as slides (powerpoint, PDF), or as a continuous text (HTML). Many of the lectures have associated exercises and sample code, which can be used pedagogically, or as the start of a software project. In the listings below, the first column is the name of the lecture, the second is the author, then the last two columns are lecture notes and associated software, respectively.

In order to use the exercises and sample code the software bundle must be properly installed on your machine. To do this, you should follow the

Software installation instructions here

In addition to the exercises and sample code, there are some standard software packages in the distribution. These include astronomical software like Aladin, Mirage, TOPCat, VOPlot, as well as the web-server and development tools Apache Tomcat, Apache Axis, and Ant. These latter are installed as part of the software installation process. A full description of the software distribution is available.


Introduction to the NVO Summer School McGlynn PPT | PDF
Using the VO Summer School Libraries Graham/Greene HTML

Foundation Technologies for the Virtual Observatory

Introduction to SQL Nieto-Santisteban HTML Software
Introduction to XML Krughoff HTML Software
XML Technologies Plante HTML Software
Web Service Technologies Graham PPT | PDF  
Grid Computing Williams PPT | PDF  
Java Introduction Plante HTML  
Java Web Libraries Krughoff HTML Software
Language Mini-tutorial: C# Graham HTML Software
Language Mini-tutorial: IDL Miller HTML Software
Language Mini-tutorial: IRAF Fitzpatrick HTML Software
Language Mini-tutorial: Perl McGlynn HTML Software
Language Mini-tutorial: PHP Kwok HTML Software
Language Mini-tutorial:Python Kwok HTML Software

Virtual Observatory Technologies

Protocols Overview McGlynn PPT | PDF  
Science Applications Hanisch PPT | PDF  
VOTables Fitzpatrick HTML Software
Data Access Protocols Tody PPT | PDF  
SkyNodes Greene HTML Software
ADQL Plante HTML Software
Managing VO data and Process Flows Graham PPT | PDF  
UCDs Williams PPT | PDF  
Integrating Existing Tools into the VO: IRAF Fitzpatrick HTML  
Integrating Existing Tools into the VO: IDL Miller HTML Software
Resource Metadata Hanisch PPT | PDF  
Publication and Registry Clients Greene/Plante PPT | PDF  
Publication and Registry Clients: Exercise Greene/Plante HTML Software
Data and Service Discovery Kwok HTML Java, Python, PHP
Dealing with Invalid Data Kwok HTML  
VOEvent Seaman PPT | PDF  
Exercise 1 - Building a VO client Tody HTML Software
Exercise 2 - Building a VO Service Greene HTML Install Software
Exercise 3 - Combining VO elements Kwok HTML Software
What's on tap in the VO Hanisch PPT | PDF  

Using the Virtual Observatory in Astronomy Research

Using the VO to Study the Relationship of Galaxies and Clusters Miller HTML  
Using the VO for Cross-correlations Krughoff HTML  
Object Classification Using the VO McGlynn PPT | PDF  
Using the Grid for Astronomical Data Williams PPT | PDF  
Data quality in the VO DeYoung PPT | PDF  

Student Projects

HI Archives-Data Access and Tools Kent PDF  
Spectrophotometry Client and Web Service Valdes, Prema, Bochanski HTML  
Finding Merging Pairs of Galaxies with the NVO Allam, Tucker, Puerari, Gee, Loh PPT | PDF  
Super Star Clusters in Nearby Galaxies Whitmore, Hanley, Chan PPT | PDF  
Creating/retrieving Simulated x-ray luminosity maps Laurie Shaw PDF  
VOEvent Mahabal, Seaman, Price, Garcia, Fhima, Allen HTML Software
A Pipeline for BIMA Polarization Data Cortes PDF  
Galaxy Decomposition Service Wadadekar, Bogosavljevic, Mahabal HTML and PPT | PDF  
Crossmatch Between Local Database and SIAP Archives Deneva, Manzato PPT | PDF  
Cluster::Node Muench, Strickler, Cargile HTML  
HyperLeda and SDSS Koposov, Brewer, Way JPG  
VO Timeseries Drake, Huber, Allsman, Vivas, Gasson PPT | PDF  
WCS Fixer Brewer, Koposov PDF  

Software Index

This list is software especially developed for the Summer School. This distribution also contains other software, see here.

ADQL Library Software This library provides simple translation capabilities between the XML and SQL-like representations of ADQL.
Basic Java examples Software This directory examples of simple Java programs.
Basic Sky Node Software This directory contains implementations of a simple server and client for a basic sky node.
Cone Client Software This directory contains a java implemention of a Cone Search client.
Cone Service Software An implementation of the Cone Search using a data file supplied with the summer school.
Cone Web Service Software This directory contains a build file for a client for an SDSS Cone search deployed as a web service.
Catalog Extractor Software This service tries to normalize the photometry in an image.
DAL Client Software A powerful library of routines for accessing Conesearch, Simple Image Access and soon Simple Spectral Access services. Users can query and retreive catalog and binary data in just a few method calls.
Full SkyNode (fullskynode) Software A simple server and client implementation of the full SkyNode implementation. However this version is not yet fully compatible with existing SkyNodes so that cross-correlations with other nodes may not be successful.
IVOA client Software Classes for parsing VOTables using the JAVOT and SAVOT libraries.
IVOA FITS Software Classes for using the IVOA FITS library.
IVOA Registry Software Classes to access VO registries.
K Giant Software A example application looking for K-giants using VO protocols.
NVO Registry Software Classes to search the VO registry at JHU.
Read FITS Software A simple example program for reading a FITS file.
Read VOTable Software A simple example prorgram for reading a VOTable.
SIAP Server Software Build a simple image access service.
SkyPortal client Software Build a client to the SkyPortal service. The SkyPortal in turn sends queries to various SkyNodes and sends the final response back to the user.
SkyPortal Upload Client Software This SkyPortal client uploads a table into the portal to do cross-correlations with the SkyNode catalogs.
URL Reader Software This program gives a simple example of a Java program reading data from a URL.
WESIX Client Software This directory includes a Web services client for the WESIX service.
XML Parser Software Example XML parsers.

List of Faculty

Name Affiliation
McGlynn, Thomas NASA GSFC
De Young, Dave NOAO
Fitzpatrick, Michael NOAO
Graham, Matthew Caltech
Greene, Gretchen STScI
Hanisch, Robert STScI
Krughoff, Simon University of Pittsburgh
Kwok, Shui Keck Observatory
Miller, Chris NOAO
Nieto-Santisteban, Maria Johns Hopkins University
Plante, Ray University of Illinois
Tody, Doug NRAO
Williams, Roy Caltech

List of Participants

Name Affiliation
Allam, Sahar University of Wyoming
Allen, Steve UCO/Lick Observatory
Allsman, Roberta NOAO / LSST Project
Bochanski, John University of Washington
Bogosavljevic, Milan Caltech, Department of Astronomy
Brewer, Jeremy University of Pittsburgh
Butterworth, Paul NASA/GSFC
Cargile, Phillip Vanderbilt University
Chan, (Ben) Hiu Pan Caltech - IPAC (NED)
Cortes, Paulo University of Illinois
Desert, Jean-Michel Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris (IAP)
Deneva, Julia Cornell University
Drake, Andrew Princeton/Caltech
Fhima, Avi Gemini Observatory
Garcia, Jorge Gemini Observatory
Gasson, David National Optical Astronomy Observatory
Gee, Perry University of California Davis Physics Dept.
Hanley, Christopher Space Telescope Science Institute
Huber, Mark Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Kennefick, Julia Physics Dept., University of Arkansas/Fayetteville
Kent, Brian Cornell University
Koposov, Sergey Sternberg Astronomical Institute
Lindroos, Johan CSC-Scientific Computing ltd. SAMPO / ESO
Loh, Yeong University of Colorado
Mahabal, Ashish Caltech Astronomy
Manzato, Patrizia INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Trieste
Muench, August Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Prema, Paresh University of Cambridge
Price, Aaron AAVSO
Puerari, Ivanio INAOE
Seaman, Robert National Optical Astronomy Observatory
Shaw, Laurie Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
Strickler, Rachel San Francisco State University
Tucker, Douglas Fermilab
Valdes, Francisco NOAO
Vivas, Kathy Centro de Investigaciones de Astronomia (CIDA)
Wadadekar, Yogesh Space Telescope Science Institute
Way, Michael NASA Ames Research Center
Whitmore, Brad Space Telescope Science Institute

Group Photo

click for larger version with names

(Missing from photo: Gretchen Greene and Patrizia Manzato)


VO Standards

Background Reading

The following documents provide general background information about the National Virtual Observatory and its relationship to the International Virtual Observatory Alliance. Additional VO-related documentation is available in the NVO document collection ( and the IVOA document collection (

  • Virtual Observatory Architecture Overview
  • VOTable Format Definition
  • Simple Image Access Prototype Specification
  • An Introduction to NVO Core Applications
  • How to Publish to the NVO
  • Virtual Observatory Architecture Overview
  • The Management, Storage, and Utilization of Astronomical Data in the 21st Century