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Connecting Astronomical Data Archives with Galaxy

Enabling astronomers to search and download data from IVOA-compliant archives directly within Galaxy

Astronomical observations are diverse and unique, maintaining their scientific value for centuries. This lead the astronomical community to develop traditions and practices of data preservation and interoperability in Astronomical Data Archives. Modern astronomical observatories produce large, nearing exoscale, amounts of data, posing new challenges which can be addressed by web-based platforms bringing analysis code to the data. Possibility to discover and analyse data from these archives is crucial for making Galaxy adopted in astronomocal community.

As part of the effort to bring astronomical workflows to Galaxy within EuroScienceGateway project WP5, teams at EPFL and UPC developed a tool which relies on Table Access Protocol (TAP) developed by International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA) to allow user to:

  • Choose a specific archive from a list of 138 different archives or query multiple archives matching a keyword
  • Run custom ADQL TAP queries or use the IVOA table query builder
  • Preview discovered resources in an easy-to-explore HTML
  • Obtain a CSV file containing resource URLs matching given query
  • Download matching files directly into Galaxy for futher analysis

Selection of APERTIF radio telescope images found at ASTRON through IVOA TAP protocol with a Galaxy tool

Selection of APERTIF radio telescope observation data found at ASTRON archive through IVOA TAP protocol with a Galaxy tool

For a demonstation of the tool features, see video. This functionality has been presented at the 2023 edition of the Swiss SKA Days.

The tool is now available on the Galaxy toolshed.

We are exploring possibilities for extending the tool with further features, in particular adding more interactive user interface with a visualization plugin.

We are grateful to IVOA and all contributing institutions for developing and maintaining crucial interoperability layer for astronomical community. We are also greateful to PyVO developers for their work on the library which is the basis of the presented Galaxy tool.