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Paper: Chapter 9: Web-based Tools—Footprint Services in the Virtual Observatory
Volume: 382, The National Virtual Observatory: Tools and Techniques for Astronomical Research
Page: 75
Authors: Budavari, T.; Szalay Gyoergy Fekete, A.S.; Dobos, L.; Greene, G.; Gray, J.; Rots, A.H.
Abstract: There is much more to astronomical observations than just source catalogs. For example, when working with multiple observations at different wavelengths, knowing their precise coverage is very important, e.g. to look for dropouts, and can often be very difficult when the most significant observations also have the most complex geometry. This functionality has been missing almost entirely from the toolbox of many astronomers.

The sphere is arguably the most beautiful object and certainly the simplest one. Yet its surface has a strange topology: travel in any given direction and you will eventually return to the starting point. As trivial and banal as it sounds, this has been a source of frustration of many scientists, including astronomers who observe objects on the celestial sphere. Spherical geometry is difficult and there are no easy solutions or shortcuts, especially if one is after an efficient algorithm.

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