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Using observations made with the OmegaCAM survey instrument at the VST, astronomers from the Kilo-Degree Survey (KiDS) were able to infer the distribution of Dark Matter in the observed region (colored magenta in the right-hand image) from its aberration of light of galaxies in the background. To do this, light from some 2 million galaxies at distances of around 5,5 billion light-years had to be analysed. This was done by OmegaCEN using the WISE technology. Image credit: Kilo-Degree Survey Collaboration/A. Tudorica & C. Heymans/ESO

NOVA has invested heavily in a suite of survey instruments that produce very large data streams. This provides the Dutch astronomical community with state-of-art raw data to be used for many science cases. OmegaCEN is NOVA’s survey datacenter plus expertise center for astronomical information technology. The team has its primary base at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute and also includes members from the Leiden Observatory. Its aim is to provide the environment and infrastructure in which the science teams together with their international partners can efficiently generate their science-grade data, embed their ever changing smart algorithms and thereby perform scientific analyses. OmegaCEN’s strategy is to be efficient by pooling its expertise, software and hardware across the NOVA projects.

The scientific goals of projects supported by OmegaCEN include Solar System studies, Galaxy and Local Group dwarfs (OmegaCAM, MICADO) the evolution of galaxies, dark matter and dark energy (OmegaCAM, MUSE, Euclid) and the early Universe (OmegaCAM, MICADO, MUSE, Euclid). We refer to the instrument specific sections in this report and the 2010-2012 tri-annual report for a more in depth science discussion for each instrument.

In 2013-2015 OmegaCEN supported the data handling for NOVA’s share in following ESO projects:

  1. the OmegaCAM wide-field imager, leading the handling of its Dutch-led Kilo-Degree Survey and many GTO projects;
  2. leading the handling of GTO surveys with the MUSE multi-unit IFU spectrograph and
  3. leading the design for dataflow and pipelines for E-ELT’s First Light imager and spectrograph MICADO. For the Science Ground Segment of ESA’s Euclid Mission, OmegaCEN leads NOVA’s share: hosting the national Science Data Center, co-leading with ESA the Euclid Archive System and co-leading with Germany the handling of all auxiliary ground- and space-based data. OmegaCEN also continued support for the LOFAR Long-Term Archive which it delivered in 2011.

OmegaCEN’s “instrument” is its in-house developed WISE technology. WISE allows to build “Living Archives”, which are information systems for massive data that integrate survey calibration, quality assessment, science analysis and data mining with archiving. This is achieved by integrating databases, storage and computing resources in a single system. WISE allows to connect heterogeneous hardware and software which are geographically distributed across dozen locations. In 2013-2015, OmegaCEN operated Astro-WISE for OmegaCAM and dozen other wide-field imagers, MuseWise for MUSE and has used WISE technology for Euclid and MICADO dataflow design activities.

Further information can be found on the OmegaCEN website hosted by the Kapteyn institute.

The OmegaCEN principal investigator is Prof. dr. Edwin Valentijn (Kapteyn institute, Groningen).