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Retrieving IUE Data via FTP

The IUE archive consists of raw and processed data produced by both the IUESIPS and NEWSIPS data processing systems, and is accessible through MAST, the Multi-mission Archive at STScI. The data sets are stored in gzipped compressed format on spinning disk. Although most users access the archive via the IUE search page using a web browser, FTP access is also possible using either a web browser ( i.e.,, or, as explained below, using anonymous ftp from an ordinary terminal with network access.

Users should be cautioned that FTP access is currently restricted in the following ways:

  1. the user must already know the camera name, image sequence number, and the data type of the file(s) to be downloaded,
  2. no files conversions are currently available via ftp, so returned files are sent individually, in gzipped compressed mode.

In general, IUE data is accessed from subdirectories under /pub/iue/data. The directories are organized by camera name and image sequence number. A separate directory exists for each camera (i.e., lwp,lwr,swp,swr) and below each of these directories is a separate directory for each 1000 image numbers. These directories are named according to the starting image number in each group (i.e., 1000, 2000, 3000, ...). As an example, a typical interactive ftp session to retrieve files lwp21500.mxlo.gz and lwp21500.silo.gz would be:

cd /pub/iue/data/lwp/21000
get lwp21500.mxlo.gz
get lwp21500.silo.gz

To simplify access, two shell scripts and a vms command file have been written which require the user to specify only the file name and the desired data type. The programs determine the file path based on the input image name. In addition to downloading the data, the VMS command file also renames the files. Because VMS file names are not allowed to have two decimal points, a file named lwp21500.mxlo.gz would normally be downloaded as lwp21500.mxlo$5Ngz. (at least this is what we've found using Multinet ftp). The command file renames these files to lwp21500_mxlo.gz, uncompresses them (requires gunzip) and them renames them to be (for example) lwp21500.mxlo. The shell scripts iuemulti, getiue and the VMS command file are all available via ftp on in /pub/iue/software/data_retrieval.

If you have problems reading the file formats, please check our data retrieval help page for suggested ways to read the downloaded compressed files.

If you have problems retrieving your data or wish to donate your own shell scripts or programs for accessing MAST data, please contact the ST Archive help desk.