A r A S   N e w s






No. 15   (October 22, 2005)



Editor: L.A.Sargsyan, sarl11@yahoo.com



The ArAS Newsletter in the INTERNET: http://www.aras.am/arasnews.html








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1. ArAS IV Annual Meeting

2. Second Byurakan Summer School

3. Armenian Astronomers in JENAM-2005

4. JENAM-2007 in Armenia

5. Armenian Virtual Observatory (ArVO) in the IVOA

6. ArAS Annual Prize for young scientists








The Fourth Annual Meeting of the Armenian Astronomical Society was held on August 29-30, 2005, in the Byurakan. It was organized jointly by the Armenian Astronomical Society and the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory.  


Some 40 astronomers participated in the Meeting, including scientists from Germany (T.Arshakian, V.Hambaryan, T.Khanzadyan), Yerevan State University (YSU), and some 35 scientists from the Byurakan Observatory, as well as 14 YSU students attending the Summer School which was attached to the ArAS meeting (see "Second Byurakan Summer School").


The meeting was opened with a welcome address by Haik Harutyunian, ArAS Co-President, followed by a report by Areg Mickaelian, another ArAS Co-President, who presented the ArAS activities during 2004-2005. 14 scientific talks by 13 speakers were given, covering various aspects of astronomy.


ArAS has at present 61 members, including 43 from Armenia and 18 from 7 other countries (USA, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine, Mexico). New members since the previous ArAS meeting are: Vagharshak Sanamian (Armenia), Felix Aharonian (Germany), Emmanuel Momjian (USA), Igor Chilingarian (Russia). ArAS is recognized by and has established good relations with the international scientific unions and societies, including the IAU, EAS, EAAS, International Olympic Committee for Astronomy (IOC), etc. One of the main ArAS activities is the electronic publication of the Newsletter (editor: L.Sargsyan). The ArAS webpage maintains general information about the Armenian astronomy and ArAS, membership form and list of the members, ArAS Newsletters, the list of all Armenian astronomers, Byurakan Observatory and other Armenian institutes related to astronomy, useful links, etc. ArAS annual meetings have been and are important for activating of science in Byurakan, discussion of scientific topics and the ArAS affairs. Since 2004, ArAS has established an annual prize for young astronomers, which will be awarded for the second time at the end of this year. The ArAS Co-President Y.Terzian sponsors this initiative for this year as well. ArAS members have been active in educational affairs as well, including the organization of the Armenian astronomy Olympiads for school pupils. It was stated that JENAM-2007 will be the main task for the ArAS for the next years, as well as establishment of the ArAS annual prize for outstanding astronomers and publication of the Dictionary of the Armenian astronomy.


The Meeting was sponsored by Mr. David Nelson (USA), Executive Director of the Jinishian foundation.






It was the second time that the Byurakan Observatory (together with ArAS) organized a Summer School for the University students (the first was in 1995). The School was held on August 22-30 and was attached to the ArAS Annual Meeting, so that the students were able to participate in the meeting during the last days. 14 best students from the Yerevan State University (YSU) had been invited to stay in Byurakan, listen lectures on various aspects of astronomy, participate in observations and practical training, get acquainted to the research subjects carried out in the observatory. During the School, the students prepared and reported their own talks as well. An astronomical competition was organized, where the students had to answer to 40 questions connected with the topics taught to them during the School days. An excursion to the ancient Armenian fortress Amberd was organized on Saturday, August 28. Most of the students hadn't yet chosen their specialty in the Department of Physics, so the School was a chance to introduce astrophysics and the Byurakan observatory to them for their further studies.






The 14th Joint European and National Astronomical Meeting (JENAM-2005) "Distant Worlds" took place on July 4-8 this year in Liege, a city in the French part of Belgium. The program was made up of a number of Plenary sessions (invited reviews) and five sessions on: 1) Astroseismology; 2) Astrobiology and Solar System Exploration; 3) Quasars: Host Galaxies and Gravitational Lenses; 4) Technology Roadmap for Future Interferometric Facilities; and 5) Massive Stars and High-Energy Emission in OB Associations. Some additional sessions were organized as well, such as "Astrophysics, and how to attract young people into Physics", "European Cooperation and Projects in Astronomy".


Some 250 astronomers from European and some other countries participated in these sessions, including six Armenian astronomers: T.G.Arshakian (MPIfR, Germany), A.Harutyunyan (BAO, Armenia), G.Harutyunyan (YSU, Armenia), J.Martirosyan (YSU, Armenia), A.M.Mickaelian (BAO, Armenia), H.M.Tovmassian (INAOE, Mexico). T.G.Arshakian and A.M.Mickaelian presented oral contributions (both at the session Quasars: ...), and A.Harutyunyan, G.Harutyunyan, and J.Martirosyan had presented posters.


EAS Council and Business meetings were held as well. The importance of the EAS Council meeting on July 5 was connected with the final decision on the JENAM-2007 in Armenia (see "JENAM-2007 in Armenia").


JENAM-2005 was a good chance for meeting other scientists, discussions, exchange of experience, and enjoying the scientific and friendly atmosphere in Liege.






On the EAS Council Meeting on July 5 this year, held in Liege (Belgium) during the JENAM-2005, it was finally decided that JENAM-2007 meeting will be held in Yerevan, Armenia.


As presented by A.M.Mickaelian, JENAM-2007 was decided to be organized on August 20-25, 2007. It will be the 15th Annual Meeting of the European Astronomical Society, and the 6th Annual Meeting of the Armenian Astronomical Society. The venue of the meeting will be the Yerevan State University (YSU). The sessions will take place in the halls and auditoria of the Department of Physics, having modern facilities. Exhibitions and poster sessions will be organized nearby, at the entrance halls.


The preliminary topics of the meeting are (the final decision will be made next year after proposals for other mini-symposia as well):


ü       Our active Sun;

ü       Non-stable stars and related phenomena;

ü       Activity processes in galaxies;

ü       Modern astronomical instrumentation;

ü       Databases and Virtual Observatories;

ü       Archaeoastronomy.


The registration fee is fixed at rate 200 Euros, which will cover the welcome reception, coffee breaks and refreshments during the five days of the meeting, transportation (airport-hotels-airport, hotels-venue-hotels), excursion to the Byurakan Observatory, participants’ sets (bags, abstracts book, program, etc.), and

organizational expenses.


JENAM-2007 will be organized jointly by the Armenian Astronomical Society (ArAS), European Astronomical Society (EAS), Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO), Yerevan State University (YSU), Armenian National Academy of Sciences (NAS), and Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia.


Important deadlines for the meeting:


22 Aug 2005                 Preliminary announcement in the EAS electronic newsletter

22 Oct 2005                  (this) Announcement in the ArAS electronic newsletter

01 Sep 2006                 Deadline for suggestions for EAS symposia

01 Oct 2006                  1st Announcement with Preliminary Registration Forms

31 Dec 2006                             Registration Forms will be distributed to those who expressed an interest,

with the 2nd Announcement

01 May 2007                 Deadline for Registration (reduced fee), Travel Grant Applications

                        and for submission of Abstracts

01 Jun 2007                  Applicants to be informed of outcome of Travel Grant Applications

01 Jul 2007                   Deadline for Hotel Reservation; Confirmation of acceptance of Papers;                 Submission of Final Abstracts of accepted papers

01 Jul 2007                   3rd and Final Announcement with the Final Program

20-25 Aug 2007 JENAM-2007 in Yerevan

31 Oct 2007                  Deadline for submission of papers for publication in the Proceedings






The Euro-VO Workshop on VO Standards and Systems for Data Centres and Large Projects was held on 27-30 June 2005, at ESO, Garching (Germany). The International Virtual Observatories Alliance (IVOA), European Virtual Observatory (Euro-VO), and ESO were the organizers. Overview talks, lectures/demos, and tutorials were presented. Some 120 astronomers and computer scientists participated in the meeting, including three Armenian astronomers: Igor Chilingarian (Russia, France), Areg Mickaelian (Armenia), and Alain Sarkissian (France).


Discussions on the Armenian participation in the IVOA were made between A.M.Mickaelian and the IVOA co-chairs M.Ohishi (Japan), A.Lawrence (UK), F.Genova (France), and R.Hanisch (USA).


The idea for the creation and development of the Armenian Virtual Observatory (ArVO) is based on the Digitized First Byurakan Survey (DFBS) project and some other useful projects undertaken in Byurakan (Digitized Second Byurakan Survey - DSBS, Photographic spectra of the FBS blue stellar objects, Coma region plates with "chain" images, etc.). These valuable databases should be the basis for the ArVO. Of course, ArVO has to create a standard environment for utilization of all these data and integration in the IVOA.


Later, after the Euro-VO meeting, ArVO logo and web page (http://www.aras.am/arvo.htm) were created, and ArVO was formally created at BAO as a group with its funding. ArVO team includes: A.M.Mickaelian (PI), T.Yu.Magakian (Project scientist), L.A.Sargsyan, L.K.Erastova, and P.K.Sinamian (team members). These steps served as justification for ArVO to be authorized as official project in IVOA, which happened at the IVOA Executive Committee meeting on 20 July 2005. A.M.Mickaelian was accepted as an IVOA Executive Committee member as well.


An agreement on ArVO development between BAO and the Institute of Problems of Informatics and Automatization (IPIA, NAS RA) was achieved at the joint meeting on September 8, 2005. This includes:


1. Installatoion, utilization and access for the Digitized First Byurakan Survey (DFBS). Tools for extraction and visualization of any field of interest will be developed and installed for free access.


2. Creation of an astronomical data center in Armenia. This will include the DFBS, other archive plates from the Byurakan observatory, the 2.6m telescope observations, and other astronomical data resources available in Byurakan. The Armenian astronomical data centre will be one of the data providers for the International Virtual Observatories.


3. Development of high-speed Internet for ArVO. ArVO is based on the GRID technologies, as it requires a high-speed Internet and tools for processing and analysis of large catalogs and other data. One of the solutions is to build a fibre optics connection for the Byurakan Observatory. In addition, the ArVO team will have an access to Internet from the IPIA in Yerevan.


4. Establishment and utilization of the Virtual Observatories standards in ArVO. ArVO is a part of the International Virtual Observatories Alliance (IVOA), hence it is being developed in the same environment as other IVOA projects, i. e. using the same standards developed by IVOA team members. A combination of the SIAP and SSAP will be needed for work with the low-dispersion spectral plates (such as the DFBS).


5. Creation and installation of the ArVO web page. A preliminary web page describing the goals and current status of ArVO is active since July 2005 (www.aras.am/arvo.html). However, ArVO web page should include also tools for work with the DFBS and other data, cross-matching of catalogs, and keep information on large amount of astronomical objects and other data. Therefore, a dedicated server will be needed with large hard disk space.


6. Organizational affairs. The ArVO team combines both astronomers (responsible for the ideology of the project and the astronomical tasks) and computer people (programmers, web designers, responsible for the software development, installation of the database, web page, etc.).


Thus, ArVO is one of the IVOA 16 official projects at present. ArVO’s contribution in the international VOs will include creation of a standard telescope data acquisition system missing, a new interface for SIAP/SSAP interchange based on the DFBS and other spectroscopic data, and creation of a complete low-dispersion spectroscopic database (Global Spectroscopic Virtual Observatory).






For the second time, the ArAS annual prize for young scientists will be awarded at the end of this year. Applications should be sent to one of the ArAS Co-Presidents. The deadline is December 1 and the results will be announced in the ArASNews #16 at the end of December. For more information see ArASNews #14.