sci15010 — Announcement
The new European Hubble Archive eHST
21 October 2015
Currently about half of the publications from Hubble are based on archive data, proving that the archive is a goldmine for astronomers. This October, the ESAC Science Data Centre (ESDC) at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC), located near Madrid, Spain, has released a new european archive for the data of the Hubble Space Telescope (eHST).
The main design rationale behind this new archive interface has been to provide easier access to the exquisite Hubble data, allowing European and worldwide users to leverage its scientific potential. The web-based archive interface is now again state of the art and uses the latest software technology standards from the ESAC Science Data Centre.
The enhanced user interface now offers five striking new features.
- All the public data from the Hubble Space Telescope can now be accessed and retrieved at any calibration level — from raw to fully reduced data — directly from a web user interface and without the need to login.
- The new interface makes use of carefully refined metadata and footprint tables of all of the one million observations made by Hubble. This allows for more robust searches than were previously possible. In particular, it allows the user to search only for observations that contain the object of interest in the field of view for photometric observations or spectroscopic slit/aperture for spectroscopic ones. This helps reducing the number of downloaded files not relevant for studying a particular object.
- It allows the user to pre-visualise the exact field of view or slit of the photometric or spectroscopic observations on top of a progressive optical DSS all-sky map. The user can also inspect online the preview drizzled images and fully reduced 1D spectra of FITS headers prior to downloading any file.
- The interface contains fully up-to-date proposal and refereed publication databases properly linked with the observations such that a search by proposal name, keywords, authors or publication name, authors or associated datasets is possible. Moreover, thanks to this link to the publications database, the interface even allows the user to search for data that has not yet been published in a refereed journal.
- All the complex searches, metadata and data retrieval examples above can be easily translated into a simple set of commands for programmatic access that can be built into any user-defined analysis routine or code, leveraging the huge discovery potential of the Hubble data.
On top of giving faster access to the HST data to European users, points 3 to 5 above are unique features of the new archive that cannot be found in any of the other Hubble Space Telescope archives worldwide, including the MAST science archive at the STScI in Baltimore, and therefore might also be of interest to US-based or other worldwide users with an internet connection, including amateur astronomers and the general public.
ESA HST Project Scientist, STScI
About the Announcement