The Facility that is offered for access is the ST-ECF/ESO Archive. The ST-ECF/ESO Archive currently contains more than 7.0 Terabytes of scientific data obtained, since its launch in 1990, with the ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope, with the ESO New Technology Telescope, the Very Large Telescope and with the Wide Field Imager on the ESO/MPI 2.2m Telescope. The growth rate is 4.5Tbytes per year ramping to 6.0Tbytes/year within the next two years. In addition to 'public' data arising from General Observer programmes whose one-year proprietary period has elapsed, the HST Archive contains some large datasets resulting from programmes approved with a reduced or nonexistent proprietary period. In addition, network connection allows Archive Users to retrieve data from other active Archive Centres (e.g. ISO).
Intermediate data sets can be staged on fast access robotic devices. This unique (in size and quality) collection of diversified astronomical data can now be seen as a "virtual" observatory, capable of responding to requirements for observations as a "real" first-class telescope. Genuine "Archive Research Proposals", based on the use of data contained in (or accessible via) the ST-ECF/ESO Archive are solicited once a year during the duration of the ASTROVIRTEL Project from scientists belonging to EC Member and Associated States. In the application forms (which can be downloaded from the web) the proposers have to indicate the scientific aim of their proposal, its relevance and uniqueness and the estimated resources (amount of data to be retrieved and analysed, number of visits to the facility, special algorithms to be developed).
The first deadline for submission was June 15, 2000. Subsequent calls follow at about six-month intervals. The ASTROVIRTEL Proposal submission forms are a modified version of the existing HST Archive Proposal ones. You can download them from the Call for Proposals Instructions page.
Piero Benvenuti, KARL - Schwarzschild-str.2, Garching 85748, Germany