The Astrophysical Virtual Observatory (AVO) project conducted a research and demonstration programme on the scientific requirements and technologies necessary to build a virtual observatory for European astronomy. The AVO has been jointly funded by the European Commission (under FP5 - Fifth Framework Programme) with six European organisations participating in a three-year Phase-A work programme, valued at 5 million euro. The partner organisations were the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Munich, Germany, the European Space Agency (ESA), AstroGrid (funded by PPARC as part of the UK's E-Science programme), the CNRS-supported Centre de Données Astronomiques de Strasbourg (CDS), the University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France, the CNRS-supported TERAPIX astronomical data centre at the Institut d'Astrophysique in Paris, France, and the Jodrell Bank Observatory of the Victoria University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
The Phase A program focussed its effort in the following areas:
- A detailed description of the science requirements for the AVO was constructed, following the experience gained in a smaller-scale science demonstration program called ASTROVIRTEL (Accessing Astronomical Archives as Virtual Telescopes).
- The difficult issue of data and archive interoperability was addressed by new standards definitions for astronomical data and trial programmes of "joins" between specific target archives within the project team.
- The necessary GRID and database technologies were assessed and tested for use within a full AVO implementation.
- Discussion Paper for the OECD Global Science Forum (P. J. Quinn & A. Lawrence & R. J. Hanisch) at the Library of Congress Web Archives (archived 2011-05-12)
- Virtual Observatories initiatives worldwide, State of the projects 2006 ( www.Interquanta.biz/vos ) highlights that EURO-VO is the continuation from AVO as a Phase-B deployment of an operational VO in Europe.
- List of Seminars in VOs 2004-5 ( Meudon Observatory ) at the Wayback Machine (archived 2006-11-16)