VIrtual Roentgen and Gamma Observatory
(VIRGO.UA, VIRGO) in Ukraine
Equipment of space missions, which data are available at the Centre
INTEGRAL (INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory)
XMM-Newton (X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission)
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (FGST)
Ukrainian VIrtual Roentgen and Gamma-ray Observatory (VIRGO.UA) is a scientific computing Centre for high-energy astrophysics, aimed to support research in the field of astroparticle physics (computing astroparticle centre) by opening access to observational data from space missions in the X-ray and gamma-ray ranges, in particular, the INTEGRAL mission, opened in Kyiv in 2006. The VIRGO Centre was created by the joint efforts of the Faculty of Physics of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (KNU) (Departments of Quantum Field Theory and Astroparticle Physics, Department of Astronomy and Space Physics, Astronomical Observatory (AO)) and the Bogolyubov Institute for Theoretical Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (BITP) and with the financial support – grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation “Scientific Cooperation between Eastern Europe and Switzerland” (SCOPES) 2005–2008, type “Joint Research Projects and Institutional Partnerships”, IB7420-111020 , title: “Creation and maintenance of a computing astroparticle centre”, Co-ordinator: Courvoisier Thierry, INTEGRAL Science Data Centre, Versoix, Switzerland. Participating partners from the Ukrainian side – KNU and BITP.
Within the framework of the VIRGO project, in April – June 2006, 4 cycles of lectures were held at KNU together with practical classes to acquaint all interested persons with the capabilities of the centre and provide them with assistance in using the Centre's data. About 40 participants from Kyiv and other cities in Ukraine took part in the lectures and practical classes. In April and May 2007, the next two cycles of lectures were held, and on May 28–30, the First VIRGO conference was held based on the results of the Centre's work. Subsequently, within the framework of the VIRGO project, a number of scientific schools were held with the involvement of international experts to train the staff of the Centre for the work of processing observation data, and to provide advice and help to all users of the Centre.
And in January 2013, a branch of the VIRGO Centre was opened at AO KNU. The directions of scientific research of the centre cover almost all relevant areas of astrophysics, in particular, the study of active nuclei of galaxies, the large-scale structure of the Universe, hot X-ray gas in galaxy clusters, the search for astrophysical manifestations of dark matter, the study of the centre of the Galaxy in the GeV – TeV range, search for sources and mechanisms of the acceleration of cosmic rays, investigation of Supernova Remnants, intergalactic magnetic fields, etc. based on the processing of data from the space missions INTERGAL, XMM-Newton, Chandra, Suzaku, Fermi.
The VIRGO Centre of KNU serves as the main source of observational data for carrying out scientific research works and international astrophysical projects at the University. During the existence of the VIRGO Centre, its employees, and users have published more than 300 papers in prestigious international and Ukrainian scientific journals, more than ten PhD theses, and dozens of master's and bachelor's theses have been defended.
The VIRGO Centre is actively used in the educational process of the Department of Astronomy and Space Physics and the Department of Quantum Field Theory and Astroparticle Physics, laboratory workshops are held on the special courses "Special Scientific Seminar on Astrophysics", "Relativistic Astrophysical Objects", "X-ray astronomy", "Gamma-ray astronomy", "Introduction to the Standard Model and high-energy astrophysics", related to data processing of optical, X-ray and gamma-ray telescopes, as well as practical lessons from the courses "High-energy astrophysics", "Modern computer technologies", "Computational methods in astrophysics", "Astronomical catalogs and databases", etc.
The main directions of scientific research of the VIRGO Centre:
- Research of physical processes in active galactic nuclei based on X-ray and gamma-ray astronomy data.
- Research of physical processes and acceleration of cosmic rays in the Supernova remnants based on observations of space missions in the X-ray and gamma-ray ranges.
- Establishing astrophysical constraints on the characteristics of light axion-like particles from X-ray and gamma-ray observations of bright sources (active galactic nuclei, gamma-ray bursts and their afterglows) through the prism of galactic clusters – the project "Revealing the dark: discovering new particles through the prism of the largest structures of the Universe" is a joint project with the Niels Bohr Institute, Denmark.
- Establishing the manifestations and characteristics of primary magnetic fields in cosmological voids from observations of cascade gamma-ray emission from TeV blazars
- Modelling and research of the large-scale structure of the Universe based on X-ray and gamma-ray astronomy data.
Photos of the VIRGO Center, employees, and students
The list of publications from recent years that utilized the resources of the VIRGO Center for research work
Useful Astrophysical Links
Examples of data processing and instructions
Video instructions for processing data from the XMM-Newton and Chandra telescopes