What is VIRGO.UA?
"VIrtual Roentgen and Gamma Observatory (VIRGO)" is a joint project of the Bogolyubov Institute for Theoretical Physics (Kiev, Ukraine), Astronomical Observatory and Physics Department of the Taras Shevchenko Kiev National University (KNU), and Main Astronomical Observatory of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
This project was established in 2005 with financial support from the Swiss National Science Foundation and due to organizational support of the INTEGRAL Science Data Centre. It is aimed at providing access to the data of high-energy astrophysics and analysis software to Ukrainian astronomers and astronomy students. The VIRGO resources are now intensively used in the educational process of the Physics Department of KNU (e.g., for hands-on sessions) and in a number of international scientific projects.
Among these projects, there is a big international project on cosmology and astropartical physics (involving leading Ukrainian, Swiss, Russian and Georgian scientists), which is currently funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation for 2009-2012 years with the budget of 240.000 Swiss francs. The VIRGO staff members are also involved in several Ukrainian research programs, such as "Cosmomicrophysics" programme, National Grid programme and other projects supported by the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Ukrainian Ministry of education and science etc.
The VIRGO Staff
The motive power of the VIRGO project is its participants and coordinators. Their enthusiasm and strong professional motivation make it possible not only to successfully develop this pilot project providing the Ukrainian scientists with a unique possibility to take active part in numerous international projects, but also to create a number of "growth points" for newest branches of high-energy astrophysics and cosmology in Ukraine, constantly conducting educational and public outreach activities for interested students and senior schoolchildren.
The scientific activity of VIRGO
An important part of our Virtual Observatory is the specially created
system of high-energy data access. Using this system, one can overlook
the data available in VIRGO archive, download them or make a request
for downloading the missing data. At the moment, we provide an access to the mirror of the Data Archive of the INTEGRAL satellite.
The unique information about the properties of cosmic objects obtained with the help of VIRGO facilities, makes it possible to conduct outstanding research in astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology and astroparticle physics. Since the start of the VIRGO project in 2005, its participants have published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers in prestigious Western and Ukrainian journals, more than half of them - during 2009-2010.
The high level of scientific research is sustained by the friendly atmosphere of the Joint Astrophysical Seminar at the Physics Department of KNU and the BITP Seminar on Astrophysics and Cosmology at the Bogolyubov Institute for Theoretical Physics. The schedule of these and other VIRGO-related seminars is available at the seminar webpage and is mailed in advance. For discussion of scientific and technical details of VIRGO research, the VIRGO forum and Wiki webpage are also being used.
The educational activity of VIRGO
The educational activity of VIRGO includes special lecture courses "Introduction to the Standard Model of elementary particles", "Principles of cosmology", "Introduction to the theory of the hot Early Universe" and many others. For younger students, we present a weekly seminar programme of the VIRGO Educational Center and lecture course "Methods of astronomy and astrophysics", aimed at introducing the basic events in high-energy astrophysics and cosmology. For senior students, we conduct hand-on practical sessions to the lecture courses "Astrophysical practicum", "Physics of compact objects", "Relativistic astrophysical objects", aimed at data analysis from X-ray and gamma-ray telescopes. The participants of these seminars and hands-on sessions are students of the Chairs Quantum Field Theory and Astronomy and Space Physics of the Physics Department of KNU, Department of Applied Physics of Physical and Technical Institute of National Technical University of Ukraine "Kiev Politechnical Institute", Department of Physical and Mathematical Sciences of the National University "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy", Department of Applied Physics of the Institute of Informational and Diagnostics Systems of the National Aviation University etc.