‘Portal to the Universe’ opens its doors to net surfers

April 24th, 2009 - 4:08 pm ICT by ANI  

Berlin, April 24 (ANI): A high-tech website, known as ‘Portal to the Universe’, will help the public to keep up-to-date with cutting-edge astronomy and space science breakthroughs.

Launched as the latest Cornerstone project of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009), the Portal to the Universe aims to become a one-stop-shop for astronomy news.

It provides a global portal for online astronomy content, serving as an index and aggregator. The site itself features news, blogs, video podcasts, audio podcasts, images, videos and more.

Web 2.0 collaborative tools, such as the ranking of different services according to popularity, help the user to sift constructively through the wealth of information available and will promote interactions within the astronomy multimedia community.

A range of “widgets” (small applications) have also been developed to tap into all sorts of existing “live data”, such as near-live pictures of the Sun, live positions of spacecraft or live observations from telescopes.

According to Project Manager Lars Lindberg Christensen, “It is clear that even in such a well-defined field as astronomy, there is much more ‘information confusion’ than you might think.”

“There is a real need in the community for this kind of site, where astronomy content is gathered in one place and is easily accessible,” he added.

“The International Year of Astronomy 2009 seeks to bring the Universe down to Earth, and this Portal is an excellent way of achieving this. This website will provide a single entry point to stars and galaxies,” he explained.

The vision for the Portal is to enable real-time access to content by aggregating (pulling) from providers of dynamic content like blogs, images, news, etc. and distributing (pushing) to users, as well as indexing and archiving, collecting and maintaining a central repository of useful information.

Modern technology such as RSS feeds and standardized metadata make it possible to tie all the suppliers of astronomy information together with a single, semi-automatically updating portal.

The result is a technologically advanced site that brings together strands of astronomy content from across the worldwide web. (ANI)

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