About SAI Virtual Observatory Project

This site is about the Virtual Observatory project in the Sternberg Astronomical Institute, Moscow University (SAI MSU). We provide a public access to the growing set of astronomical services developed by the SAI RVO development team in accordance with the Virtual Observatory standards. We also provide an interactive access to our services.

At present, we provide access (programmatic and interactive) to the all major and biggest astronomical catalogs (about 4 billions objects) as well as other web-services.

The technology behind this project is based on the original algorithms and open-source software.

The Project is being developed in the framework of the Astronet project, supported by RFBR (Russian Foundation for Basic Research), grant 05-07-90225. The database server (rx1620, dual Itanium2, MSA 20) was kindly provided by the HP Russia company.

Project participants

Project web site:

Our plans

Team plans to solve:

  • typical astrophysical problems using VO facilities:
    • supernovae statistics investigations
    • star formation history investigation in close galaxies by their spectra
    • search for single neutron stars
    • research in cepheids evolution field
    • search and classification of variable objects in scanned archive of 150-year long SAI observations
  • technological tasks:
    • software development for basic and full Skynode based on true Open Source solutions (PostgreSQL RDBMS)
  • technical tasks:
    • bringing several original SAI catalogs into VO-ready state and provide public access to them
  • organisational tasks:
    • participation in VO WGs for standarts and technologies preparation
    • conducting of VO tutorials among Russian astronomical community

Progress report

  • SAI RVO team has developed new sky-indexing scheme – Q3C (QuadTree Cube) and its realization for PostgreSQL RDBMS. That sky-indexing scheme allows to execute main spatial astronomical queries (Xmatch and Cone search) very fast. It works perfectly and quickly even for largest catalogues like 2MASS and USNO-B. Q3C has been developed as PostgreSQL extension and will be available for free download soon.
  • SAI RVO team has started support of ADQL translation to PostgreSQL's SQL dialect based on XSL transformation technique. XSL is platform independent standard XML technology.
  • SAI RVO team has deployed Astrogrid software (versions 1.0, 1.1) for exploring possibility to integrate PostgreSQL support (ADQLtoPgSQL layer and Q3C indexing algorithm) into Astrogrid package.
  • During 2006 year SAI RVO team was developing SAI CAS project aiming to provide public VO-aware access to the major and largest astronomical catalogues ( SDSS DR5, USNO-A2, USNO-B1, 2MASS point source and extended source catalogues, UCAC-2, NOMAD, 2XMMp and Tycho-2, GSC-I/GSC-II). Besides the rich set of Web services to access this catalogues, web interface suitable for interactive work is available. At present SAI CAS provides ConeSearch, CrossMatch services and supports user uploaded data. Several other services, including Skynode interface and the WCS fixer are under development.