Leadership course at MIT, July 2014

NOIRLab gets a strong and versatile web presence

enciso2004a. Edison Arango and Juan-David Vargas. NOIRLab gets a strong and versatile web presence.

Celebrating the local contribution to the global player in astronomy

The NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, NOIRLab for short, presents its new website. Edison Arango led the development team responsible to put online the massive website. Now it is time to update your bookmarks and let's start Discovering Our Universe Together.

1 October 2019 is an important date for earth’s optical and infrared astronomy community. On this date, NOIRLab had its “first light” [1] and was born to unite 5 successful astronomical programs: Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Community Science & Data Center, Gemini Observatory, Kitt Peak National Observatory and Vera C. Rubin Observatory. Each program brings a long and rich history of scientific breakthroughs spanning for nearly three decades, locations in 3 different time zones, and thousands of digital assets, including breathtaking images and videos.

1 October 2019 marks also the beginning of the collaboration between NOIRLab and Enciso Systems. With more than 10 years supporting web operations for astronomical observatories around the world, Enciso Systems [2] joined forces with local companies [3] to develop and migrate a website of astronomical proportions, literally.

By far, this is the most challenging project I have led in my career as a software developer. We had a complex code base developed over many years that we customized and optimized to meet the functional and nonfunctional requirements of the customer. This is not a trivial task, in fact we have learned over the months that not even seasoned practitioners were in condition to take this project to completion. We are proud of what we have accomplished with our local talent.” affirms Edison Arango.

We dealt with an impressive, and sometimes overwhelming, amount of content during migration. In some cases, the content had a good structure and the migration process was easy. In others, we did our best to reconstruct the content so the result overpasses our customer’s expectations.” explains Ingry Romero, Software Engineer at Enciso Systems and responsible for the daily web operations and content migration.

The new NOIRLab website is now public and we expect it will be a great success. A new referent for the world’s astronomy is online.


[1] First light is the first use of a telescope or a new instrument to take an astronomical image after it has been constructed. We use the expression in figurative language to refer to the beginning of operations of NOIRLab.

[2] Enciso Systems began operations on 17 January 2020, however Javier Enciso, as independent professional, has provided services to astronomical observatories since 2009. 

[3] Altix and BitPointer are the companies taking part in the NOIRLab-Enciso Systems collaboration.


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