About the VAO

The Virtual Astronomical Observatory (VAO) is part of a worldwide effort called the Virtual Observatory (VO) that aims to link astronomy data and services.

What is the VO?

The Virtual Observatory (VO) embodies the concept of large scale electronic integration of astronomy data, tools, and services on a global scale in a manner that provides easy access by individuals around the world.  This new environment of interoperability will facilitate astronomy research with a speed, efficiency, and effectiveness not previously possible, and it will be available to all researchers, independent of their affiliation or access to observing facilities.  The VO will also provide a unique and powerful resource for initiatives in education and public outreach.

What is the VAO?

The US Virtual Astronomical Observatory (VAO) is the VO effort based in the US, and it is one of many VO projects currently underway worldwide.  The primary emphasis of the VAO is to provide new scientific research capabilities to the astronomy community.  Thus an essential component of the VAO activity is obtaining input from US astronomers about the research tools that are most urgently needed in their work, and this information will guide the development efforts of the VAO.  Examples of current VAO projects are given on these web pages, and the VAO will maintain a continuing effort to be informed of current astronomy needs and interests.

For more information about the VAO Science Goals and the underlying organization of the VAO, you may read the following documents:

VAO Science Priorities are based upon input from the US astronomy community and in particular upon advice from the VAO Science Council. The VAO is being jointly funded by NSF and NASA, and is being managed by the VAO, LLC, a collaborative effort of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) and the Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI).

Senior Personnel