WFIRST-AFTA is the NASA’s highest ranked astrophysics mission for the next decade that was identified in the New
World, New Horizon survey. The mission scientific drivers correspond to some of the deep questions identified in the
Canadian LRP2010, and are also of great interest for the Canadian scientists. Given that there is also a great interest in
having an international collaboration in this mission, the Canadian Space Agency awarded two contracts to study a
Canadian participation in the mission, one related to each instrument. This paper presents a summary of the technical
contributions that were considered for a Canadian contribution to the coronagraph and wide field instruments.
The Canadian Advanced Network For Astronomical Research (CANFAR) is a 2 1/2-year project that is delivering a
network-enabled platform for the accessing, processing, storage, analysis, and distribution of very large astronomical
datasets. The CANFAR infrastructure is being implemented as an International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA)
compliant web service infrastructure. A challenging feature of the project is to channel all survey data through Canadian
research cyberinfrastructure. Sitting behind the portal service, the internal architecture makes use of high-speed
networking, cloud computing, cloud storage, meta-scheduling, provisioning and virtualisation. This paper describes the
high-level architecture and the current state of the project.
The Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC) manages the data collections of the CFHT, JCMT, HST and Gemini
telescopes plus data from several other projects. In the past five years, the role of the CADC has changed. It is now an
integral part of telescope operations and provides support for PIs, project teams and the Virtual Observatory. This paper
will describe the drivers for this new role, how the CADC has responded to these needs and the operational experience
with three major telescope facilities. The advantages and disadvantages of this role for a multi-mission data centre will
also be discussed.
The Virtual Observatory (VO) movement is driven by the desire to deliver more powerful tools into the hands of
research astronomers. The expectations of the scientists who use observing facilities and online services evolve year-to-year.
A decade ago the observatory's data management responsibilities ended when the data were read out of the
instrument and written to a disk at the telescope. Observers were satisfied to bring their own tape to the telescope, write
the nights data onto the tape, and take it home. There are only a few major telescopes now that follow that procedure. It
used to be standard practice for scientists to write major pieces of software to reduce and analyze data. That situation
was revolutionized with IRAF (Tody 1986) data reduction software which was produced at an observatory and was
tightly integrated with the instruments and observing procedures used at that observatory and at that time. Most
observatories today have at least a primitive means of saving and protecting their data in an archive. In summary,
science data management has evolved a great deal in the past decade. The VO movement is a reflection of this ongoing
The International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA: http://www.ivoa.net) represents 14 international projects working in coordination to realize the essential technologies and interoperability standards necessary to create a new research infrastructure for 21st century astronomy. This international Virtual Observatory will allow astronomers to interrogate multiple data centres in a seamless and transparent way, will provide new powerful analysis and visualisation tools within that system, and will give data centres a standard framework for publishing and delivering services using their data. The first step for the IVOA projects is to develop the standardised framework that will allow such creative diversity. Since its inception in June 2002, the IVOA has already fostered the creation of a new international and widely accepted, astronomical data format (VOTable) and has set up technical working groups devoted to defining essential standards for service registries, content description, data access, data models and query languages following developments in the grid community. These new standards and technologies are being used to build science prototypes, demonstrations, and applications, many of which have been shown in international meetings in the past two years. This paper reviews the current status of IVOA projects, the priority areas for technical development, the science prototypes and planned developments.