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AstroGrid Version 1.0

AstroGrid V1.0 is the first public release of the UK's Virtual Observatory.

Here we describe this release and how to use it to do science.

This is a preliminary release - the system is not yet fully documented, and has some known bugs. However it is useful for science already and so we encourage astronomers register, use the system, and provide us their feedback.

What is AstroGrid ?

AstroGrid is a Virtual Observatory (VO), which can broadly be defined as collection of interoperating astrophysical data archives and software tools accessible through the internet.

A variety of tasks can be done by a VO, but typical usage will include sending queries to astronomical datasets, retrieving files from datasets and operating on them. A VO is particularly useful for comparison and integration of data from diverse sources, for example in multiwavelength studies. It also allows access to and manipulation of large datasets.

What can I do with AstroGrid V1.0?

With this release of AstroGrid, there are two levels of usage of the system:

1. AstroGrid Science Services

AG Science Services currently available are the Redshift Maker and the Solar Movie Maker.

Science Services have a simple interface and are very easy to use. If you are a first time user, it is recommended that you try these out first to familiarise yourself with the AstroGrid portal.

A third AG Science Service, the Colour Cutter, is being developed.

2. User-defined workflows

This is a more advanced type of usage which allows users to develop their own workflows to access datasets and perform complex operations on data.

Typical steps needed to build user-defined workflows are described in this Overview.

Accessing AstroGrid V1.0

Web browser

AstroGrid V1.0 is accessed over the internet using a web browser.

You do not need to install any AstroGrid software on your computer.

However you do need an Astrogrid compatible web browser: recommended web browser is Mozilla >= 1.7.2 (Download Mozilla here), Astrogrid will also work fine on the latest releases of I.E. (>=6.0) and Firefox (>=1.0.4).

Also, you will need to have Java Runtime Environment software (>= 1.4.2) installed on your computer (Download JRE here - choose: JRE 5.0 Update 3). If you think you might already have JRE installed, test it by clicking here (JRE test): if you see a moving picture in the page, you do have JRE. If not, or if you have an old version, install JRE and test it.

Note that JRE (>= 1.4.2) includes Java Webstart, which is software allowing you to launch applications from your web browser with a single click. AstroGrid uses Java Webstart to launch the Workbench (used to start the Science Services) and other applications such Aladin and Topcat.

Username, password and community

You will need an AstroGrid 1.0 username-password-community set to be able to log into the Portal. (Please remember that your user-account is for your own use only).

If you are a research astronomer, please email to request a username.

In your registration email please include your name and academic department. (NB: this information will remain confidential to the AstroGrid project)

Log into an AstroGrid Portal

To use Astrogrid, go to the AstroGridPortals page and select one of the portals listed under the User Portals heading. The ones listed under Development Portals will have restricted access but if you want to test the latest applications and components, please contact the relevant person.

At this stage there is a central AstroGrid portal and we will be adding community portals as they are released, so please keep checking back.

Type in your username, password, and choose the relevant community from the drop-down menu. You're in...

Downloading AstroGrid Server Applications

The packages that comprise the AstroGrid V1.0 Release can be downloaded - please contact KeithNoddle for further details.

AstroGrid Bugzilla, Forum, and Wiki

In order to access the software systems, and fully particpate in providing feedback and so forth, new users should be aware of a number of AstroGrid information resources, and signup appropriately to them. The good news is you only need to do the following once.

The AstroGrid Wiki

In order to edit these pages (attributed) you'll need to register on the AstroGrid wiki - please use the page:

Once you have your wiki name such as NicholasWalton, you can set some preferences, for instance allowing sensible edit box sizes, look at NicholasWalton or TonyLinde for examples.

The AstroGrid Forum

In order to add to this you'll need to register:

The AstroGrid Bugzilla

In order to add to this you'll need to register:

Contact and Help

If you have problems logging in or using the system please contact

For queries regarding science workflows, please contact in the first instance, your email will then be passed to the appropriate person.

Release v1.0: The Smallprint

Shared-Risk Release

The AstroGrid Release v1.0 is made available on a 'shared-risks' basis. Users are made aware that the software is provided as is, and that AstroGrid accepts no liability for possible loss of data or work of the user through their use of the system.

User Data, MySpace and Backup Policy

User data is stored on the MySpace system disk storage. This storage is not currently backed up in any way. Users are encouraged to make local copies of any data or results of importance

Data Protection Information

As is common with many online system, AstroGrid logs some information about our users, in its server logs. We use this information from our server logs to learn about our visitors as a group, not about you as an individual. We also use the information to generate important statistics required by our funding sources. These records are kept only for the purpose of maintaining and improving services on our site, and are never shared with any other entity.

Feedback and Bug Reporting

Users are encouraged to report any bugs or errors in the system using the AstroGrid bug ticketting system at

Topic revision: r25 - 2006-05-22 - 15:29:25 - garygilchrist
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