Member of the International Virtual Observatory Alliance

About GAVO

The German Astrophysical Virtual Observatory (GAVO) is the German contribution to the IVOA (International Virtual Observatory Association), the international effort to create and expand the Virtual Observatory (VO).

The Virtual Observatory

The goals of the Virtual Observatory are to

  • allow or improve access to astronomical data of all kinds (astrometry, photometry, spectroscopy, time series,...), from everywhere, in well-defined protocols,
  • let astronomers easily discover, access and use data relevant to them,
  • ensure that data does not simply disappear, that it is properly described and can be accessed and understood in the future,
  • provide software to help astronomers to use all this.

This huge programme is tackled under the auspices of the IVOA, which is formed by the various national VO organizations. These organizations run services and cooperate in IVOA to develop standards that let services in the VO talk to each other and to programs and libraries used by both astronomers and the general public.

For Germany, these efforts are organized within GAVO.

Although certainly still in the process of being built, the VO is very much a reality. Thousands of "resources" (in VO speak this word means "something useful"), from the smallest catalog on VizieR to the large archive of SDSS, are waiting to be discovered and used -- by you!

One place to get started is our GettingStarted page.

Our contribution

GAVO runs numerous services, primarily at its Heidelberg data center and Potsdam data center.

Based on this expertise, we provide data publishing consulting and, as required, infrastructure to the German astronomical community.

We are also active in the creation of new standards and the improvement of existing ones on the level of the IVOA, in particular within the Registry, Data Access Layer, Grid and Webservices, and Data Model working groups. Historically, another focus of GAVO has been the Theory IG.

We also do Outreach to both the astronomical community and the public at large. See below if you are interested in having one of us report on the VO or host a "VO Day" (a hands-on workshop teaching VO skills).

GAVO are...

Currently, GAVO's efforts are funded through Verbundforschung of the German Ministry for Research (BMBF). See Institutes for a list of currently active members.

However, if you are interested in the VO or work on it, by all means contact us. We also hold teleconferences and face-to-face meetings on a regular basis that might be interesting to you.

What we can do for you

GAVO's services are open to all astronomers as well as the general public.

In addition, we will gladly assist you in publishing your data to the VO. Just contact the friendly data center staff ; if you want, you can also talk to us at 06221/541837 (Markus Demleitner).

We are also the people to talk to if you just want to plunge into VO matters, say, as a user, or if you have specialized questions. In particular, we are available for talks and workshops on the VO at your institute. Just send a mail to .