Bulg. J. Phys. vol.36 no.s1 (2009), pp. 60-69

Astroinformatics: A Synthesis between Astronomical Imaging and Information & Communication Technologies

O. Kounchev, et al.
Institute of Mathematics and Informatics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Acad. G. Bonchev Str., Block 8, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria
Abstract. The newly born area of Astroinformatics has emerged as an interdisciplinary area from Astronomy and modern information and communication technologies, based on the modern Internet developments. Recently, four institutes of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences launched a joint project called "Astroinformatics" and aimed at the development of the necessary methods and techniques. As a truly interdisciplinary area Astroinformatics has arisen from the need of ICT methods for preservation and exploitation of the scientific, cultural and historic heritage of astronomical observations. The Wide-Field Plate Data Base is an ICT project of the Institute of Astronomy, which has been launched in 1991, by the Working Group "Wide-Field Sky Surveys" of the International Astronomic Union (IAU)and is unique by its nature at the international level. So far 150,000 plates have been already digitized through several European research programs. As a result, image data is collected with about 2TB size and it tends to rise upto 1PB. The access, manipulation and science data-mining of such a huge amount of information is a serious challenge for the ICT community and the efforts in this direction are funded by European scientific programs as COST Action 283, FP6 & FP7 of the European Virtual Observatory, the Humboldt Foundation of Germany, and recently, byt he Bulgarian National Science Foundation (Ministry of Education and Science of Bulgaria).

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