Steer & GoalsThe main goals of the Brazilian Virtual Observatory (BRAVO) are:
- To promote the discussion about the Brazilian VO within our astronomical community.
- To inform the brazilian astronomical community about the VO status worldwide.
- To support the brazilian astronomical community in a new paradigm of astronomical databases.
A brief history of BRAVOThe Brazilian Virtual Observatory started as an initiative from the Astrophysics Departament and Laboratory of Computation and Mathematics at the National Institute of Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, INPE). In 2006, a Declaration of Intentions was signed by the legal representatives of six Brazilian research institutes plus the Brazilian Astronomical Society in order to support the brazilian astronomical community in a new VO paradigm. BRAVO thus aggregated efforts of several groups working on VO related issues in various universities and scientific institutes in diferent parts of Brazil. In late 2008 BRAVO was embedded in the National Institute for Science and Technology in Astrophysics (INCT-A), a program funded by CNPq and FAPESP to help establish and consolidate networks of working groups and laboratories on an internationally competitive level, dedicated to long-term research in selected fields.
In March 2009, BRAVO became the Brazilian representative at IVOA. Supported by INCT-A and IVOA, it was possible for BRAVO to support the technological infrastructure available for VO projects, and organize workshops and schools aiming at the dissemination of VO concepts. BRAVO was also active in providing access to high-performance computing facilities to the community. VO activities were prominent in Brazil in 2012, with VO presentations at the XXXVII Annual Meeting of the Sociedade Astronomica Brasileira, and the BRAVO VO School. These events were held in the week before the October IVOA interoperability meeting in Sao Paulo, and highlighted VO science, infrastructure and education and outreach activities. BRAVO has organized the VO School for South American students and post-docs to learn about, and get hands-on experience with VO tools and services. VO scientists from US, European and Indian Virtual Observatory projects have cooperated to make a joint program of tutorials and to help the participants use VO for their science.
In addition to the above events, BRAVO organized the I BRAVO Challenge, a contest that was put forth to the community. The challenge was to develop a SIAP service from scratch and to demonstrate that it worked integrated with Microsoft’s World Wide Telescope. The finalist team won a one-month trip to Caltech and Microsoft Research, and two laptops. The participants were encouraged to team up in pairs, one student of astronomy and another of computing sciences. Out of the 21 applications, about half were from such teams. In order to foster VO science projects, in 2011 BRAVO released a call of proposals entitled Casos de Usuario. The goal is to help researchers in the deployment of their data (observations or models) into the VO framework.