Leopard is retired; long live the Spitzer Heritage Archive (SHA)!

by Guest on October 20, 2010

Luisa Rebull is a Research Scientist at the Spitzer Science Center at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) at Caltech. She is the Archive Scientist for Spitzer, and has been working on the development of the Spitzer Heritage Achive.

SpitzerSince early in the Spitzer mission, the Spitzer software Leopard has been how most people got their Spitzer data. However, for the final repository of the data from the entire Spitzer mission, we needed something with more longevity. We have developed the Spitzer Heritage Archive (SHA), which is resident at the Infrared Science Archive (IRSA) at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC): http://irsa.ipac.caltech.edu/applications/Spitzer/SHA/

The SHA is, right now, the primary mechanism that most people should be using to retrieve their Spitzer data. While it is still functional,
Leopard is still useful for searches of the Reserved Observations Catalog (e.g., when you are planning your Cycle 8 proposal, use Leopard to search the archive for all existing or planned observations, whereas only the existing observations are in the SHA). However, after 4 Nov 2010, all data downloads should be preformed via the SHA.

Cool Features of the Spitzer Heritage Archive (SHA)

The SHA provides, among other things, a much more efficient data packaging process than Leopard did, plus the ability to only retrieve the portion of an AOR relevant to your search.

The SHA is a web-based service, not standalone software, and so hopefully should be easy to figure out intuitively, even if you have never been a Spitzer user before! There is online help embedded in the system; see the “Help” menu in the upper right, and choose “Spitzer Help.” A full PDF manual for the SHA is planned for the next major release.

SHA Screenshot
Here is a screenshot of a basic position search; many other search options are available (indicated on left). The place to log in and the primary online help are also indicated in the figure. (The small blue circles enclosing question marks also provide context-sensitive help, and there are tooltips as well—let your mouse hover to get a small pop-up with hints.)

Recipes on downloading data from the SHA have been added to the Spitzer Data Analysis Cookbook. The first recipe, a simple SHA search, is here. A more detailed example, using the tools native to the SHA to assess the qualities of several different observations of the same region, can be found as the next recipe in the Data Analysis Cookbook, here.

Known bugs and other idiosyncrasies are available here.

For the next major release of the SHA (planned for February 2011), a major new feature will be the seamless incorporation of all of the Legacy data products. Recall that the Legacy projects were large, coherent observing programs, which included delivery back to the SSC of enhanced data products such as mosaics and catalogs; some teams delivered considerable ancillary data at other bandpasses as well. Right now, any delivered enhanced products from the Legacy teams are available as flat files on the SSC website (click on ‘data deliveries’ for any team at the link above) or as searchable individual repositories at IRSA within the Gator or ATLAS services. In the next major release of the SHA, searching on a region that happens to include Legacy Enhanced Data Products will produce not only the original Spitzer observations, but also any Enhanced Data Products available within the IRSA holdings.

Your Account

Proprietary data are tied to logins in the SHA. If you are not logged in, and doing a search, observations that were taken but are not yet public are listed in red. The data owner must log in to download them. If you have proprietary data (now or in the future) you will need an account. If you had a Leopard account, you probably already have an SHA account. Please look for email from the Spitzer Helpdesk (help@spitzer.caltech.edu), or just try your Leopard username without the email portion (e.g., if your Leopard login was lyman.spitzer@ipac.caltech.edu, try just “lyman.spitzer” for your SHA login) and your Leopard password.

If you can’t log in, you may need to create an account. Once you’ve created an account, email the SSC Helpdesk (help@spitzer.caltech.edu) to tell us which account(s) you have set up, and which PIDs to tie to your new account. Ultimately, this account will be used to customize your experience at all IRSA sites. For example, you can save searches, tag data, etc., now within the SHA, but ultimately, these features will be available for all IRSA holdings.


Questions? Problems? Bugs? Suggestions? You can mail the Spitzer Helpdesk at help@spitzer.caltech.edu, or the use the IRSA Helpdesk.

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