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Obtaining BEFS Data

The BEFS Archive is maintained at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) as part of MAST, the Multi-mission Archive at STScI. The data are stored in gzipped compressed format on spinning disks. Data may be found and retrieved in any of 3 ways: searching the BEFS database, browsing the BEFS catalog, or anonymous ftp.

Normally web users will search the BEFS database for particular files using the BEFS search page. The returned table of found entries allows the user to mark the images to be downloaded. A request for data begins a retrieval job. Once the requested files are located, they are written to a data distribution disk area on the system, bundled into a tar, zipped format file, and downloaded to the disk area specified by the user in the "save as..." pop-up window. The files have finished downloading when the pop-up window disappears. If several observations are requested, the wait time will be proportional to the number of images requested.

Alternatively, one may proceed to the BEFS catalog, pick an object category and click on object names or datasets (this catlog contains objects from both misions). Clicking on the object name brings up a preview window displaying a plot of the data and some associated information. Clicking on datasets initiates a pop-up window and the data can be downloaded to the desired area in your computer. The same caveat for wait time pertains to this retrieval method.

Primary access is via the web although 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. As no file conversions are currently available via ftp, returned files are sent individually, in gzipped compressed mode. The observations are grouped by object type and then additionally by target, to help users find data of interest via ftp.

As an example, a typical interactive ftp session to retrieve files for V471 Tau (BEFS1086) would be:

cd /pub/orfeus/befs/data/
cd befs1086
mget *