A resource for fully calibrated NASA data

by Guest on July 1, 2013

This is a guest post by Scott Fleming, an Archive Scientist at Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI).  Scott received his PhD from the Univ. of Florida, and was a postdoc at Penn State University prior to joining STScI. His research interests are binary stars, substellar companions, and extrasolar planets.

The Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST) maintains, among other things, a database of fully calibrated, community-contributed spectra, catalogs, models, and images from UV and optical NASA missions. These High Level Science Products (HLSPs) range from individual objects to wide-field surveys from MAST missions such as Hubble, Kepler, GALEX, FUSE, and Swift UVOT. Some well-known surveys archived as HLSPs include CANDELS, CLASH, GEMS, GOODS, PHAT, the Hubble Ultra Deep Fields, the ACS Survey of Galactic Globular Clusters. (Acronym help here: DOOFAS). And it’s not just Hubble projects: we have HLSPs from GALEX, FUSE, and IUE, to name a few, and some of the HLSPs include data from other missions or ground-based observations. A complete listing can be found on our HLSP main page.

How do I navigate the HLSP webpages?

Each HLSP has a webpage that, in most cases, includes a description of the project, relevant documentation, and previews of data. For example, the GOODS HLSP page has links to the current calibrated and mosaiced FITS data files, the multi-band source catalog, a Cutout Tool for use with images, a Browse page where you can view multi-color, drizzled images, and a collection of external links related to the GOODS survey.

You can search many HLSPs based on target name or coordinates. If you’ve ever used the MAST search forms to access HST, Kepler, or GALEX data, this will look familiar. The search form is great for checking whether your favorite object is part of a MAST HLSP. You can also upload a list of objects through the “File Upload Form” link if you want to check multiple targets. You may also access several of the Hubble-based HLSPs through the Hubble Legacy Archive (HLA). Click on “advanced search” in green, then in the “Proposal ID” field, enter the name of the HLSP product to search for, e.g., “CLASH”. A complete list of HLSPs available through the HLA may be found here where you can also click on the links in the Project Name column to initiate a search within that HLSP.

Can I contribute data as an HLSP?

Finally, we are constantly seeking new HLSPs, both from active, PI-led projects in current missions, as well as user-contributed products. There are several benefits to contributing your data. First, the data will be stored along with a permanent website, documentation, and references. Second, your data and metadata will be linked to other MAST holdings and the Virtual Observatory through our various cross-mission search tools, leading to increased visibility and ultimately citations. We are currently updating our guidelines for contributing HLSPs, which can be found here. If you have a product you would like to provide as a possible HLSP, please contact us at archive@stsci.edu, or through Facebook/Twitter (@MAST_News), and we will be happy to work with you.

Now what?

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