MAA

The Project


1. How it began
2. Description of the single projects
3. Support
4. Helpers

  1. How it began
    As the most Servers this project startet with an idea. First it was just the idea to offer astromaps to the people - clickable images of the night sky (this was back in summer 1994). I intended to include this to an astro server (the original I created is unfortunately no longer existing --- local politics about people leaving an institute), but since I knew that there would problems occur I moved the test installation to a new place and there it lives ... well, somehow.
    Of course, this was an unpleasant situation, so I started to look around for a place, where I would be able to build this server on a better basis. During this time, I thought a lot about what I wanted to do and what the server should look like. With what I saw on other servers and what I did before I rethought the organisation and the services the server was supposed to offer. The astromaps were a fine project but not so much usable for professional astronomers. These people needed other information. So, why not connect these requirements with the astromaps ? - Because this alone is not an attractiv way of finding data if you are in need of just these data.
    To do things correctly I must use a database, which can be searched for information without using the astromaps, so that professionals can easily gain information. The info of the astromaps can have links to further information. This organisation should do the job.
    Soon I saw that with the old server it would never be possible to offer all services I planned to. My server software was not flawless and I had no access to a database or an archive system.
    While playing around with the few things I had till then (spring 1995), I was contacted by people of the VSW and the FdT, who wanted to join the astromap project. This gave me the push I needed to stop thinking and get things done.
    At this point I asked people of the LRZ and the USM for help. On the one hand, the LRZ does have all the equipment I will need to build up the server. On the other hand, my status there would be clearly defined and I will no longer have to fear that after a while my work will be silently destroyed. The support of USM is wished and necessary for I am no member of one of the universities the LRZ is providing their services.
    On the first anniversary of the archive it got its own domain: www.maa.mhn.de. Now, that I moved the server to its new location and it has now its own name, this is what finally came out of it:

  2. Description of the single projects
    The topics below partially correspond to the topics of the homepage of MAA. Hopefully these descriptions help to understand to which audience the projects are apealing. Of course you can browse to everything which is offered, but in case you are searching of something special, this may help you to find it. In any case feel free to contact smil(at)clell.de.
    1. MAAM: The Munich Archive Astromaps
    2. As mentioned above, this is a collection of pictures of the night skies. All pictures are made clickable. Clicking on a star means that you will get some basic information about this star (where it is located, what kind of star,...). On each page a link to more specific data will be found (is available, see the topic support). If you are an interested layman to astronomy, what you learn of the Info-pages might be all you want. If you are deeper interested, you may go on and follow the links (people with very little knowledge about astronomy will soon reach the point where the offered data is useless and no longer interesting to them).
    3. MAPA: The Munich Astro Papers Archive
    4. This is an projects for people looking for papers to specific subjects. Connected to a database and an archive system you may give the keywords and a programm will find all papers which match to the given keywords. Once papers are found, you can read the abstracts online. If you are interested in reading the whole paper you either go to the library and look into the journal, the paper appeared in, or you tell the server to send you the postscript version of it.
      Unfortunately this seems a bit too much for single person so that this part of the archive will probably undergo a changing even before it goes online.
    5. Cat:
    6. Since October 1997 the archive offer a collection of astronomical catalogs from the ADC-CDROMs. This offer will be extended as long as there are wishes to to so and as long there is enough disk space.
    7. Comet: Mirror of Gary Kronk's Comet and Meteor Site
    8. This wonderfull collection of material of comet and meteor showers informations fits exactly to the purposes of this archive. Fortunately Gary gave his permission to make this mirror so that european users (hopefully) can enjoy a faster access. It is available at the archive since June 1996.
    9. Const: The Munich Archive Constellation Pages
    10. This project - though strongly under construction - is not yet really online. There are discriptions of all constellations (all bilingual), but not all of them offer enough informations for interested people or observers. Once there is enough material (including history, etc.) this project will have its own link from the homepage of the archive.
    11. Messier: Partial Mirror of the SEDS Messier Data
    12. Since February 1996 there is an agreement with SEDS, that the MAA may mirror their Messier data. Because it is the policy of this archive to be bilingual there will be a german translation of the data, which will be mirrowed back to SEDS after it is completed.
      Under this topic you will find informations about all 110 messier objects, overview data as well as infos useful for the observer. As far as they are available the latest research data will be found there, too.
    13. Scholar: The Astronomical Teachtextes
    14. As the name says the aim of this project is to provide a collection of textes (partially with pictures), prepared in a way that they are, on the one hand, an entry point for laymans to astronomy and, on the other hand, give deeper knowledge to more advanced people. A part of these textes are written by Nick Strobel of the Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA. Special thanks to him as well as to Dirk Husfeld of the University Observatory in Munich, who made it possible for the Scholar Project to go online in April 1996 (just four month after this archive started its work).
    15. Specials
    16. Under this topics you find a collection of services you might find useful. If you need to know the exact time of moonraise, the stardate database will surely help you (if you need - for some reason - need to know the time of the moonraise or sunset two years ago, this database will help you, too).
      Early 1997 a service to provide star data has been started.
      As well you find some data about meteor showers.
      In collaboration with the VSW and FdT it is planned to give detailed information about stellar objects in the Topic of the Month. This information will be provided in a way that (hopefully) even a complete layman can learn about the subject and understand the text.
    17. The SL9 Archive
    18. A collection of data of the Shoemaker-Levy impact on Jupiter in 94. Seems that there are not very much researchers on this topic, so it's a bit hard to get some results. But most (all ?) of the images are there as well as the reports of the observatories.
    19. Tools
    20. There are lots of questions for astronomical software, so in August 1996 this collection of programs has been started and soon developed to one of the most read pages of the archive. Thanks to Stephen A. Voels we are able to keep the data up to date.

  3. Support
    Each server is just as good as it support. No support no data. This server is for everyone, but I cannot give data and information to the people I do not have (this is extremely true for the paper archive) or which are propriety. Sometimes an explicit permittance helps alot.
    So, if you want to see specific things on this server, tell me. If you want your information to be presented on this server, drop MAA(at)clell.de a line. You may send in complete informations or just links to those informations (in case of sending in: please make sure, that your name is under the page; I will not offer anonymous infos or change this name).
    Currently there is no financial support.

  4. Helpers
    Although this archive started as a on-woman project, it lives from the help of other people. So with the help and the work of Hartmut Frommert (SEDS; Messier Daten), Dirk Husfeld (USM; Scholar) and Steve Voels (HSTX; Tools) this archive was able to extend its offers much faster. Very special thanks to Klaus D. Kumor for his graphical and artistic assistance.
    It took more than a year to get the first official co-worker for the archive; since March 1997 we are now two persons.

Author: C. Kronberg --- 97/03/05 --- smil (at) clell.de