The Theoretical Astrophysical Observatory:…

The Theoretical Astrophysical Observatory: Cloud-Based Mock Galaxy Catalogues by Maksym Bernyk, et al.


We introduce the Theoretical Astrophysical Observatory (TAO), an online virtual laboratory that houses mock observations of galaxy survey data. Such mocks have become an integral part of the modern analysis pipeline. However, building them requires an expert knowledge of galaxy modelling and simulation techniques, significant investment in software development, and access to high performance computing. These requirements make it difficult for a small research team or individual to quickly build a mock catalogue suited to their needs. To address this TAO offers access to multiple cosmological simulations and semi-analytic galaxy formation models from an intuitive and clean web interface. Results can be funnelled through science modules and sent to a dedicated supercomputer for further processing and manipulation. These modules include the ability to (1) construct custom observer light-cones from the simulation data cubes; (2) generate the stellar emission from star formation histories, apply dust extinction, and compute absolute and/or apparent magnitudes; and (3) produce mock images of the sky. All of TAO’s features can be accessed without any programming requirements. The modular nature of TAO opens it up for further expansion in the future.

The website: Theoretical Astrophysical Observatory.

While disciplines in the sciences and the humanities play access games with data and publications, the astronomy community continues to shame both of them.

Funders, both government and private should take a common approach: Open and unfettered access to data or no funding.

It’s just that simple.

If grantees object, they can try to function without funding.

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