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Link of the week - Virtual observatory round-up

Link of the week - Virtual Observatory round-up

NGC 9496, home to a supernova featured in one of the step-by-step Virtual Observatory guides.

Image courtesy of the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes, La Palma.

Imagine what your field could accomplish if everyone pooled their data into one massive computer grid.

That's exactly what astronomers have accomplished, in the form of the International Virtual Observatory Alliance. The alliance works to develop standards that ensure interoperability, so that everyone can share data freely. Since the IVOA was founded in June 2002, a number of discoveries have been made using virtual observatory tools.

For instance, in April 2003, U.S. scientists discovered a previously unknown brown dwarf star during a trial run of their National Virtual Observatory. And in June 2004 European scientists discovered thirty powerful supermassive black holes using a virtual observatory to analyze data gathered by both the European Southern Observatory and NASA.

Amateur astronomers are also welcome to access the data in the Virtual Observatory. There are a number of free downloadable applications anyone can use to browse the grid's data.

To learn more, click on the links below:

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