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International Symposium - Astronomical surveys and Big Data, 5-9 October 2015, Byurakan, Armenia


June 30, 2015


Event Date:

October 05, 2015 - October 09, 2015

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Astronomical surveys are the main source for discovery of astronomical objects and accumulation of observational data for further analysis, interpretation, and achieving scientific results. In 1940s-1950s Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (POSS, at present digitized as DSS1) gave more data that it was collected during the whole epoch of astronomical observations before. Similarly, Markarian Survey (or the First Byurakan Survey, FBS) was the first large-area spectroscopic survey resulting at low-dispersion spectra of 20,000,000 objects. Later on, many all-sky or large-area surveys appeared (POSS2 (DSS2), SDSS, etc.). Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) so far has provided the largest database (both photometric and spectroscopic) and SDSS-based virtual sky may be explored for new discoveries. CALIFA gives a new large set of spectra. Gaia and LSST are the next source for vast amount of information. Modern multiwavelength surveys include GOODS, COSMOS, GAMA, and others. The large amount of data requires new approaches to data reduction, management and analysis. We now deal with Big Data. Powerful computer technologies are required, including clusters and grids. Virtual Observatories (VOs) have been created to coordinate astronomers’ and computer scientists’ actions and help in accomplishment of complex research programs using all the accumulated data. International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA) unifies 20 VO projects for joint efforts toward handling of Big Data and creation of an environment for more efficient research. The International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) has recently created World Data System (WDS) to unify data coming from different science fields for further possibility of exchange and new science projects.
A meeting “Astronomical Surveys and Big Data” dedicated to 50th anniversary of Markarian Survey and 10th anniversary of the Armenian Virtual Observatory (ArVO) will be held on Oct 5-9, 2015 in Byurakan, Armenia. We intend to combine astronomers and computer scientists with heavy involvement of astronomical surveys, catalogs, archives, databases and VOs.

Our meeting will contribute to the following:

  • Review and discuss large astronomical surveys to summarize observational data obtained in astronomy
  • Give tribute to Markarian Survey and other important surveys
  • Review and discuss astronomical catalogues, databases and archives
  • Learn about major upcoming surveys (including PanSTARRS, Gaia, and LSST)
  • Learn and discuss how large observational data sets are changing astronomy
  • Introduce tools and techniques for working with large data sets (including access, analysis, and visualization)
  • Discuss the future of astronomical research by joint efforts of astronomers and computer scientists

The Symposium is dedicated to Markarian Survey 50th anniversary. Benyamin Markarian (1913-1985, was the first to conduct and accomplish a large-area (17,000 sq. deg.) spectroscopic survey in 1965 to search for active galaxies. Markarian survey is until now the largest objective-prism spectroscopic survey, it was the first systematic search for active galaxies using a new method of UV-excess, it resulted in the discovery of 1515 UVX galaxies (Markarian galaxies), including many AGN and Starbursts, first classification of Seyferts into Sy1 and Sy2, and definition of Starburst galaxies. BAO is famous for other surveys as well: Arakelian and Kazarian galaxies, Shahbazian compact groups, Parsamian cometary nebulae and other objects also are well known. Byurakan is a right place for organization of such meeting.
A number of important astronomical meetings have been organized in Armenia, mostly in the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO) ( IAU Symposia: #29 in 1966 (Non-Stable Phenomena in Galaxies), #121 in 1986 (Observational Evidence of Activity in Galaxies), #137 in 1989 (Flare Stars in Star Clusters, Associations and Solar Vicinity), #194 in 1998 (Activity in Galaxies and Related Phenomena) and #304 in 2013 (Multiwavelength AGN Surveys and Studies), IAU Colloquium #184 in 2001 (AGN Surveys), as well as the all-European JENAM meeting in 2007. Moreover, the Byurakan International Summer Schools (BISS) are being organized since 2006, and four successful schools have been held in 2006, 2008, 2010 (combined with the 32th IAU ISYA), and 2012.

Markarian Survey (or the First Byurakan Survey, FBS) was the first systematic objective prism survey in the world and the first survey for active galaxies. 1500 UV-excess galaxies were discovered, later named Markarian galaxies. Its digitized version, DFBS, was created in 2002-2005 and the Armenian Virtual Observatory (ArVO) was founded in 2005 as well. Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO) always has been famous with its surveys and discovery of new objects, such as Markarian, Arakelian and Kazarian galaxies, Shahbazian groups, Parsamian nebulae, etc.
More information on Byurakan surveys may be found at: and


  • Historical surveys; Byurakan surveys for active galaxies (Markarian, Arakelian, Kazarian) and others
  • Surveys for exoplanets
  • Surveys for stars and nebulae
  • Extragalactic and cosmological surveys
  • Cross-identifications between surveys and discovery of new objects
  • Future large-area surveys
  • Digitization of astronomical data
  • Astronomical catalogues, archives and databases
  • Computational astrophysics and virtual observatories


Abstract submission is open from 15 March till 30 June 2015 through our webpage. The typical size of abstracts is 250 words or 1500 characters. Contributed papers and posters will be selected by SOC and the contributors will be notified before 31 July 2015. Final modifications are allowed till 10 August.

Abstract Submission


The early registration is open from 15 March till 30 June 2015. The participants will be selected based on submitted abstracts and notified before 31 July 2015. Early registration (March 15 – June 30, 2015) is EUR 150. Regular online registration (July 1 – Sep 30, 2015) is EUR 180, and on-site registration (Oct 5-9, 2015) is EUR 200.

The registration fee includes:

  • meeting at the airport, airport transfers to/from hotels
  • participants’ kits (bag, abstract book, program and other info materials)
  • transportation to/from conference venue to/from hotels
  • Welcome Reception on October 5
  • BAO tour on October 5
  • coffee/tea breaks and refreshments on October 5-9
  • A copy of the Proceedings Book
  • organizational expenses


There are many hotels in Yerevan that may be reserved by the participants. The organizers have reserved a number of rooms in Yerevan State University (YSU) Guest House in Yerevan (typical rate for a single room is appr. EUR 35) and Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO) Guest House in Byurakan (EUR 12 for each person in a double/triple room).
August 15 is the accommodation reservation deadline if requested through the organizers. Please contact Sona Farmanyan (


A number of social events are planned for the participants, including social tours, welcome reception, symposium banquet, etc. Details will be given later.
Practical info will be given in later announcements.
For details, please contact Sona Farmanyan (


Monday, 05 Oct 2015
10:00-10:30 Opening of the Meeting
10:30-11:30 Invited reviews
11:30-12:00 Coffee/tea break
12:00-13:30 Oral contributions
13:30-14:30 Lunch
14:30-16:00 Oral contributions
16:00-18:00 BAO tour: Viktor Ambartsumian museum, 2.6m and 1m Schmidt telescopes
18:00-19:00 Welcome Reception

Tuesday, 06 Oct 2015
10:00-11:30 Invited reviews
11:30-12:00 Coffee/tea break
12:00-13:30 Oral contributions
13:30-14:30 Lunch
14:30-16:00 Oral contributions
16:00-16:30 Coffee/tea break
16:30-18:00 Oral contributions

Wednesday, 07 Oct 2015
10:00-11:30 Invited reviews
11:30-12:00 Coffee/tea break
12:00-13:30 Oral contributions
13:30-14:30 Lunch
14:30-19:00 Excursion to Garni Temple and Geghard Monastery

Thursday, 08 Oct 2015
10:00-11:30 Invited reviews
11:30-12:00 Coffee/tea break
12:00-13:30 Oral contributions
13:30-14:30 Lunch
14:30-16:00 Oral contributions
16:00-19:00 Excursion to medieval Amberd fortress

Friday, 09 Oct 2015
10:00-11:30 Invited reviews
11:30-12:00 Coffee/tea break
12:00-13:30 Oral contributions
13:30-14:30 Lunch
14:30-16:00 Poster session
16:00-16:30 Coffee/tea break
16:30-18:00 General discussion and Closing of the Symposium
19:00-22:00 Symposium banquet

There will be invited (30-40 min) and contributed (15-20 min) talks. Poster presentations are also welcome during the Posters session on 09.10.2015 (3-5 min). The final programme will be available on 15.08.2015.

The Proceedings will be published by BAO. Areg Mickaelian and Tigran Magakian are the editors. Deadline for submission of papers is 31 December 2015. Instructions for preparation of the papers will be given later.
Page limits: Invited talks 8 pages
Contributed talks 5 pages
Posters 2 pages

15.03.2015 First announcement and webpage; call for abstracts and registration
30.06.2015 Abstract submission and registration deadline
31.07.2015 Accepting abstracts and selection of participants
15.08.2015 Final programme and list of participants. Abstracts available online
15.08.2015 Accommodation reservation deadline
01.09.2015 Final announcement with practical information
05-09.10.2015 “Astronomical Surveys and Big Data” symposium
31.12.2015 Submission of papers for the Proceedings deadline
31.05.2016 Publication of the Proceedings Book

URL:, E-mail:
Areg Mickaelian. Phone: +374-91-195914, E-mail:,
Elena Nikoghosyan. Phone: +374-91-783149, E-mail:
Sona Farmanyan. Phone: +374-55-911307, E-mail:

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