Edwin Valentyn

Edwin A. Valentijn's Homepage

Kapteyn Astronomical Institute

Department of Astronomy University of Groningen The Netherlands

Professor in Astronomical Information Technology at the University of Groningen, since Dec 2005.

Coordinating the Target project and leading OmegaCEN a National datacenter for wide field astronomical imaging, funded by the Netherlands Research School for Astronomy NOVA.

OmegaCEN is building and supporting advanced Survey Information Systems. At the center, ~17 staff and PhDs are involved in research and development of data basing and processing of very large data sets.

Founder of OmegaCEN (2002), Astro-WISE (2001), Target
( 2008), Target Holding bv (2009), Intrinfo (2009),  Stichting Infoversum ( 2012), Infoversum Producties bv ( 2012),
 "The Information Universe" (2008, 2015).

An interview on RTV Noord on the Euclid satellite - feb 2014

An interview about my views on Big Data   by Fast Moving Targets in de series "De Voorste linie"   Dec 2013
short version and  full unedited version

The Information Universe Conference

The first  Information Universe Conference  was held at the Infoversum- Okt 2015

On 13 May 2008 I gave a public lecture (oratie) at the occasion of my formal inauguration:

The Information Universe
.pdf of the lecture - booklet ISBN 978-90-367-3473-8

.ppt of the lecture

The Information Universe

my works direct at "Information as a whole"

God is an eJ

26 August 2011 Noorderzon festival Groningen, QU3,  presenting  at the  Target floor the act:   "God is an eJ"    attended by over 5600 visitors.   Watch God  is an eJ.

World premiere to public  MS's World Wide Telescope with Kinect

In 2015 my first full 3D dome production From the sun to the sun made in collaboration with Mirage3D was released (12 minutes) . It was premiered at the opening of the Infoversum and next to the  NL and Eng version is now also translated in German and shown at the Hafengeburtstage in Hamburg 2015.
It tells the story of energy in the universe, down to the gas fields in Groningen and contains the best 3D CG animation of a city.

from the sun to the sun

Postal address:

Prof. Dr Edwin A.Valentijn
Kapteyn Astronomical Institute
P.O. Box 800
NL-9700 AV Groningen
The Netherlands

Telephone (work): +31 (0)50 3634011 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            +31 (0)50 3634011      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
secretary +31 (0)50 3634036 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            +31 (0)50 3634036      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
mobile (work) +31 (0) 6 48276416
direct fax(work) +31 (0)50 3632003

email: Edwin A.Valentijn


I did my PhD at the Sterrewacht Leiden, on Radio Investigations of Clusters of Galaxies with Prof H. van der Laan as supervisor (1978), studying the intra cluster medium, cluster radio haloes and head-tail radio sources.

After that, I worked on X-ray astronomy (Einstein observatory,) and optical surcface photometry, studying cooling flows, at the European Southern Observatory in Geneva and Garching, Munich. At ESO I was chairman of the working groups supervising the development of the MIDAS image analysis system.

In 1984 I returned to the Netherlands to help building up the new UK-NL optical observatory at La Palma (Canarias) and studied dark matter in dumbbell and cD galaxies. In 1989 I published with A. Lauberts the first large digital image survey (ESO-LV), which led to my paper on the opacities and dust content of spiral galaxies (Nature 1990).

During the 90's I worked at SRON-Groningen and ESA Villafranca- Madrid to build and commission the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) satellite's Short Wave Spectrometer, which I used to pioneer the detection of cool extragalactic molecular hydrogen- unseen matter in the universe.

Since 1998 I work at the Kapteyn Institute for the OmegaCAM project which led to the founding of the OmegaCEN data center (2002) and the AstoWise information system (2001), one of the first distributed Big Data information systems. In 2005 I was appointed as bijzonder professor Astronomical Information technology at the  Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

I am leading the Target project, which originally received a 32M Euro grant - a collaborative project between public institutions (RuG, UMCG, Astron) and companies (IBM, Oracle, Target Holding)  in which very large datacollections from astronomy, medical and historical origin are handled  with similar techniques. From Target Valentijn  initiated new enterprises  in Groningen, such as the Target Holding bv, the  NL-datacentre for the  Euclid satellite and the  Infoversum with her production company Infoversum Producties bv.
Currently,  Target is continuing its programme - Target 2- as a building block of  ERCET, the European Research Center for Exascale Technology. Valentijn is the National project manager for Euclid.

My current research focusses on  data modeling,  extreme data-linage and visualisation of Big Data together with the  NL- e-science center, Infoversum and the Center for  Information Technology in Groningen. 

Next to research on dark energy  and dark matter I am  working on the role of information in our Universe, with the Infoversum Big Data dome as  a beautiful laboratory.

Though the Infoversum is closed at the moment, I am working on its continuation.





The founding fathers of Astro-Wise

The GANG of Astro-WISE - the founding farthers of the Astro-Wise architecture in the days the system was perceived- Nice April 2001.

Picture by Emmanual Bertin, from left to right: Drs Danny Boxhoorn, Dr Kor Begeman, Dr Edwin A. Valentijn, Dr Roeland Rengelink and Dr Erik Deul.

The GANG of AstroWISE

Press releases

Galaxies get up close and personal

The ESO-LV project

The first large digital imaging project with 32000 images scanned in the '80s


Up-to-date overviews are available at:


In the period June 2014- June 2015 I gave 40 presentations in the Infoversum, mostly about big data


In 2011 we delivered  our wide field imaging camera to ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile -
see VST and 268 Mpix OmegaCAM start work
Here one of our first pictures, reduced at OmegaCEN with AstroWise  of  M17- Omega Nebula

Currently we handle the data of  our Guaranteed time observations and the Kids 1500 Square degree survey- Two KiDs data releases have been issued, and a first set of papers was released in the summer of 2015. We also support VLT's MUSE,  Lofar and more.
We are now preparing for the datahandling and archiving of the Euclid satelite to be launched in 2020 and for ELT's Micado.


Things which make life even more interesting

I owned, sailed and maintained an oak- wooden French sailing cutter (Dundee) for 25 years. Steven Gerritsen is now essentially re-building her see Orion. Like the fantastic "Theater te Water" on the ship the "Verwondering" the "Vrijhaven" of Groningen made me (amoungst other things) move to Groningen in the 80's.



I enjoyed very much Prof Blaauw sails back home from Vlieland on board of Rudolf Le Poole's skutsje.

In memoriam Adriaan Blaauw 1914-2010

My favourite picture of amazing Adriaan on this memorable trip.

Prof Blaauw

The Infoversum

I have been  working hard to build a fantastic dome theater here downtown in Groningen. The Infoversum a "vrijhaven" for arts, science, immersive visualization and verwondering.
On 31 March 2014 the building  was delivered to the Foundation and the theater officially opened on 17 June 2014.
After a wonderful  year with over 80.000 visitors the city of Groningen withdraw from the enterprise and it closed down in december 2015.
Let's get it back !