Virtual Observatory Tools for Astronomers

Virtual Observatory Tools for Astronomers created and presented by Justyn Campbell-White, University of Kent

This video will show you how to use the Virtual Observatory (VO) tools: Aladin, Simbad, Vizier, and Topcat. You will find out how to access astronomical data, how to view and carry out analysis on astronomical images, how to query online databases, and how to use each of the VO tools together.

This module will be particularly useful to students beginning their research in observational astronomy, as well as providing those researching theoretical astronomy a quick way to view images complementary to their simulations.

Download links

Web links
CDS portal:

Video Index
Overview of CDS portal, using Simbad and Vizier 0:50
Getting started with Aladin 5:13
Importing Simbad data in Aladin 8:20
Comparing coverage of sky surveys in Aladin 12:39
Finding whether catalogue entries within sky coverage in Aladin 14:20
Cross matching catalogues in Aladin 16:08
Getting started with Topcat 20:45
Cross matching catalogues in Topcat 25:22
Using Topcat graphs to investigate GAIA data 28:48
Broadcasting from Topcat to Aladin 32:47
Table access protocol queries in Topcat 34:11

Vizier links to catalogues used in video
Kharchenko et al. 2013, Milky Way global survey of star clusters. II. :
Anderson et al. 2014, WISE catalog of Galactic HII regions:,_DEJ&-sort=_r&-oc.form=sexa
Simpson et al. 2012, Catalog of bubbles from Milky Way Project:,_DEJ&-sort=_r&-oc.form=sexa

Text Tutorials

The ASTERICS project: