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IUE Project Electronic Newsletter

NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)

Vol. 5, No. 6 - June 1997

IUE Image Processing News

Acknowledgements for Problems Found

We are committed to producing the highest quality, uniformly processed IUE data set we can by October 1. Therefore, we greatly appreciate the reporting of any suspected problems with the IUE Final Archive data. It is our goal, at the very least, to document any problems and, if possible, to fix them before the project goes out of business. We had neglected to acknowledge them in the last Newsletter, but we are indeed grateful to two veteran IUE researchers, Ed Fitzpatrick and Derck Massa, who discovered problems which we are fortunate to have the time to correct. Fitzpatrick noticed the odd sigma vectors in processed LWR low-dispersion images which were due to a problem with the noise model extrapolation at high FNs (flux numbers). Massa noticed that the SWP sensitivity decreased a few percent faster than the correction model had predicted for the last two years of IUE operations.

Thanks for the help.

Fix of LWR Low-Dispersion Images Begins

As we noted last month, a problem with the noise model used in the extraction of some LWR low-dispersion spectra was uncovered. The problem occurs when the noise model is extrapolated to higher FN values than in the original data used to construct the noise model. In some cases, the extrapolated function decreases, incorrectly indicating that the noise decreases at higher signal levels. This extrapolation error affects the sigma values and, since they are used in the extraction, it can affect the flux levels that are derived where the spectrum is somewhat to very overexposed.

We have screened the LWR images to determine which ones are affected and have begun to reprocess the affected images (3665 images) with the corrected noise model. We are taking a very conservative approach in which if one pixel is affected, we are reprocessing the image. It is likely many of the reprocessed images will yield no significant changes (e.g., 550 images had 4 or fewer pixels affected). However, it is more time efficient just to reprocess the images in a batch mode rather than to analyze how much the extracted spectra were affected. This change has been implemented in NEWSIPS Release 2.5.3, and the new noise model is listed in the processing history as Version 1.1. Please contact us if you are concerned about any LWR spectra you are currently using. We expect to have all the affected LWR images reprocessed by mid-July. We also welcome priority processing requests at

For more information, please contact Cathy Imhoff.

Updated SWP Images For 1993-1996

As noted last month, the SWP sensitivity degradation correction has been updated for data obtained from 1993 onward. We are currently reprocessing the affected data, both high- and low-dispersion images. The new version of the data is identifiable from the processing history NEWSIPS version (2.5.3 for SWP low dispersion, 3.1.1 for SWP high dispersion) as well as the processing date (May 2, 1997).

What about the LWP? Testing shows that there is no need to change the sensitivity degradation correction. The extrapolation for later data works fine.

Coming Soon: LWP High-Dispersion Processing

The LWP high-dispersion processing system is nearly ready. We hope to start processing images in the next week or so. You are welcome to send us your requests for priority processing; however they will not be put into the system until processing begins. You can access the request form at:


If you have any questions about IUE processing or the Final Archive, please feel free to contact me any time at or 301-794-1470

- Cathy Imhoff

Streak Spectra List Available

A list of LWP low dispersion sky background images taken at Goddard since the onset of the Streak has been compiled. This file is available from the website at

and will also be included in the manuals subdirectory of future DAC software releases.

These exposures were usually taken while the SWP was exposing on a particular target, so there was no (intended) target seen by the LWP. The file gives image particulars for streak exposures, images with no streak contamination, images that have some additional contamination, and images that don't fall cleanly into any given category.

- James Caplinger

IUEDAC Software Changes

A new version of asc_read was added to the experimental library which allows users to extract data as double precision rather than floating point numbers.
A new version of newcalib was implemented which applies the absolute flux calibrations for LWR low dispersion spectra extracted from the NEWSIPS SILO files. (The previous version was only compatible with LWP and SWP spectra.) Corrections were also made to newcalib which improve the agreement with NEWSIPS calibrations for SWP and LWP spectra by 2-3%.
The following experimental routines were implemented:
allows binning in energy units (KEV).
allows reading of double precision numbers.
properly displays number of extracted points.
prolog change.
checks camera number in .dat file.
checks image numbers entered using optional file keyword.
clarifies user prompt for order numbers.
extracts extension data added for partial read raw NEWSIPS files.
accepts SIHI files as input.
converts wavelengths and fluxes to IRAF compatible FITS files.
A new version of newcalib was implemented which applies the new sensitivity degradation correction for post-1993 SWP low dispersion point source spectra.
- Randy Thompson

Software Libraries Updated

The IUEDAC software library sets for the various supported platforms were updated on 14 May 1997. All routines that were created or modified prior to that date and since the last release in December 1996 are included in the new distributions. These can be retrieved from our website from

Any programs created or modified since then are available in a Beta software area, available from the same page. Included there is a readme file describing how these additional routines should be incorporated into the software.

- James Caplinger

The IUE Electronic Newsletter, edited by James Caplinger, is primarily intended to inform the numerous remote and local users of the IUEDAC software of recent software updates, as well as let them know about news relating to the IUE project in general. If you want your name to be added to, deleted from, or changed on our distribution list, please send us e-mail to

or send a postcard to:

IUE Data Analysis Center (IUEDAC)
Code 686.9, NASA-GSFC
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Back to the IUEDAC Information Page
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Mr. James R. Caplinger, Computer Sciences Corporation

Responsible NASA Organization/Official

Dr. Don West, IUE Operations Scientist