Astro Runtime

Astro Runtime (AR) is middleware that makes it simple to call Virtual Observatory services from any programming language

An API for the Virtual Observatory

Astro Runtime provides high-performance clients for most kinds of VO service, and assembles these into an API that is simple, consistent and self-contained. This API hides the complexity of the VO infrastructure, lessens the learning curve, and isolates from changes to standards and variance in service implementation.

Using Astro Runtime, anybody with a little programming experience (from scientist to developer) can access the VO immediately.

The Astro Runtime is implemented in Java, and so can be executed on any platform. Importantly, the API can be accessed from almost any programming language, and is suitable for both science scripting and application development. It has been used

  • to construct scientific workflows in Python, Perl & Taverna.
  • to provide VO functionality to existing packages such as PyRaf & ParselTongue
  • to provide a commandline interface to the VO
  • to implement web applications which use VO services
  • as infrastructure for new applications, such as VODesktop
  • to VO-enable existing desktop applications

Get Started

External Dependencies

Programs that call the API require Astro Runtime to be running. Astro Runtime is provided as part of VODesktop. Therefore you must have VODesktop running on your machine before calling any of the AR API functions.


The current Astro Runtime implementation is a stable release that is used in a number of projects. Any alterations to this public API will be made in a backwards-compatible manner.


AstroGrid website is hosted at the Institute for Astronomy, University of Edinburgh  -  last updated: 15-Aug-2012