Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Astroparticle Physics
within the NFDI
Astro@NFDI is representing the astrophysical community that encompasses the fields of astronomy, astrophysics and astroparticle physics. Thus, Astro@NFDI covers research data management in the broad field of the study of the properties and evolution of the Universe and its constituents from times when the universe was only a few hundred thousand years old (i.e., the epoch when radiation decoupled from matter) to the present epoch. Crucial for our community is understanding the physical processes that govern this evolution. This community has considerable experience in working with data and data structures that extends over decades. This experience includes outstanding successes achieved over the years in making data generally accessible to the whole community, and we have shared these experiences with many other disciplines. However, there are still areas where large gaps in data infrastructure exist. For example, whereas for large international observational collaborations excellent data sharing facilities fulfilling the FAIR principles mostly exist, these are often lacking for smaller observational projects and numerical studies.
Hubble Deep Field, using Multi-Wavelength Bands
Credit: NASA, ESA, H. Teplitz and M. Rafelski (IPAC/Caltech), A. Koekemoer (STScI), R. Windhorst (Arizona State University), and Z. Levay (STScI)
Bringing everybody to the same level is one major objective of Astro@NFDI. Another objective is maximizing the scientific gain from the available data. This requires the development of tools that allow one to easily link, combine and analyze data from different sources to optimize the resulting scientific insights. Currently, the largest challenge is the unprecedented steep increases of data in terms of volume, velocity and veracity produced by new facilities. These can only be handled applying advanced technologies and methods, such as machine and deep learning and cloud computing. To simply deploy these state-of-the-art methods will not be sufficient. Meeting these challenges requires going beyond existing solutions, developing new algorithms and technologies. Advancement gained here will be an investment in the future — not only for Astro@NFDI, but also for other NFDI programs and data management in general. Breakthroughs will be first achieved by single groups; however, our aim is to ensure the entire community takes part in advancements by supplementing the research by an extensive educational initiative, which will not only serve researchers, but also students, teachers and the general public alike.
Gaia is mapping the Milkyway (Artist impression)
Credit: ESA/ATG medialab – ESO/S. Brunier
The activities proposed in Astro@NFDI aim at an implementation of measures to serve the current needs of the astrophysics community, while simultaneously, in coordination with other NFDI consortia, developing techniques to address future challenges in an environment that already enjoys a high level of FAIR data management. Astro@NFDI will share its current knowledge freely with other science and non-science communities with the goal of collaboratively driving advancements in data science.