AstroPortal

The astronomy community has an abundance of imaging datasets at its disposal which are essentially the "crown jewels” for the astronomy community; however the terabytes of data makes the traditional analysis of these datasets a very difficult process. Large astronomy datasets are generally terabytes in size and contain hundreds of millions of objects separated into millions of files. We propose to use grid computing as the main mechanism to enable the dynamic analysis of large astronomy datasets on the TeraGrid spanning many physical resources. The key question we address is: "How can the analysis of large astronomy datasets be made a reality for the astronomy community using Grid resources?” Our answer is the "AstroPortal”, a science gateway to grid resources that is specifically tailored for the astronomy community. We have implemented our prototype as a web service using the Globus Toolkit 4 (GT4) and it is deployed on the TeraGrid. The astronomy dataset we are using is the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), DR4, which is comprised of about 300 million objects dispersed over 1.3 million files adding up to 3 terabytes of compressed data. The analysis currently supported by the AstroPortal prototype is "stacking”, the summation of multiple observations of the same part of the sky; "stacking” will both help identify variable sources and to detect faint objects. The AstroPortal will give the astronomy community a new tool to advance their research and to open new doors to opportunities never before possible on such a large scale.

 

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Webmaster Ioan Raicu: iraicu@cs.uchicago.edu 
Last modified: July 30, 2010