Member of the International Virtual Observatory Alliance

VO Workshop at Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg (ZAH)

This half-day workshop in collaboration with the SFB 881 "The Milky Way System" will take place on Monday, November 24 2014 9:15-13:00 in the seminar room of the ARI/ZAH.

This course provides a basic introduction to the Virtual Observatory. We will focus on tools that astronomers need for analysis and manipulation of source catalogues and other tables, that can be used for non-astronomical data as well. Every participant will be guided step by step through hands-on sessions to get accustomed to Virtual Observatory tools like Topcat, Aladin or the CDS Portal.

We encourage everyone to bring his/her own laptop. No preparation is needed.
The workshop will be held by Janine Fohlmeister (GAVO, ZAH Heidelberg) and Hendrik Heinl (SFB 881, ZAH Heidelberg).

After the workshop, every participant should know how to

  • retrieve data from the VO and how to fast access even large datasets with millions of rows/hundreds of columns
  • perform a query across multiple catalogues and cross-match them
  • exchange data between different VO tools
  • view and edit table data and metadata
  • define and analyse row subsets in various ways; calculate statistics on each column for some or all rows
  • view interactively and export configurable plots (histogram, plane, sky, cube, sphere and time plots with variable transparency, error bars, point labelling, all-sky plots, configurable density shading, vectors, ellipses, contours, analytic functions, plain text/LaTeX axis annotation, ...)
  • cause various things to happen when a row or plotted point is selected
  • communicate with external VO and non-VO data services
  • perform multiple (per-row) cone search, SIA or SSA queries, to join a local to a remote catalogue or image/spectrum archive
  • write modified tables out in original or different format to file or an SQL database

We will find time to discuss about and help with your use cases which we are very interested in to improve our services.

Students, post-docs and everyone interested is welcome. Please register by sending an email to: gavo at
The first 20 registered will get coffee and cookies for free.

During this workshop we will work with the following software:

Useful links: