spacer link to MAST page spacer logo image spacer
link to STScI page

NASA Data Center Annual Program Plan

Program Year: FY 2002 
Data Center/Service: Multi-mission Archive at Space Telescope (MAST)
(Optical/UV Science Archive Research Center) 
Supporting Organization: Space Telescope Science Institute
3700 San Martin Drive
Baltimore, MD 21218

Overall Mission:  MAST supports active and legacy mission data sets and related catalogs and surveys, focusing primarily on data in the ultraviolet, optical, and near-IR parts of the spectrum.  Support includes curation of the data, providing expert support to users of the data, providing access to data-specific calibration and analysis software, providing user support for this software, and maintaining public access interfaces to the data.  MAST works with new mission teams in the supported wavelength regions to assist in the development of data management plans, especially in the areas of data formats, descriptive metadata and standardization of keywords, in the development of data access and data delivery plans, and in assuring data quality control.

MAST Data Holdings

Name Size # Observations Active Mission Duration
FUSE 144 GB 1421 1999-
HST 6.9 TB 400,000 1990-
ORFEUS: BEFS 4.1 GB 332 Sept. 1993; Nov. 1996
ORFEUS: IMAPS 0.3 GB 643 Sept. 1993; Nov. 1996
ORFEUS: TUES 0.2 GB 229 Nov. 1996
EUVE   96 GB 1377 1992-Jan. 2001
ASTRO: UIT   56 GB 1,442 Dec. 1990; March 1995
ASTRO: HUT     0.6 GB 516 Dec. 1990; March 1995
ASTRO: WUPPE     0.1 GB 238 Dec. 1990; March 1995
IUE Final Archive 475 GB 103,552 1978-1996
IUE SIPS 125 GB 104,296 1978-1996
Copernicus     0.8 GB 551 1972-1981
SDSS: Early Data Release 1 TB n/a 1998-
VLA-FIRST 109 GB 14,940 1993-
Digitized Sky Surveys 5 TB n/a 1950-58, 1975-99
GSC I, II 2 TB n/a 1950-58, 1975-99

Services Provided:  MAST provides support for users seeking to understand the properties and instrumental signatures of all archived data sets and assistance with the interfaces to browse and retrieve these data.  Access to non-HST mission and instrument specific calibration and analysis software and assistance in its use is on a best-effort basis (full support for HST related software is provided by the MAST Helpdesk and staff).

Non-HST Data Analysis Software Provided:  IUE RDAF package (IDL-based), IUE Final Archive processing software (IRAF port), EUVE analysis software package (IRAF-based), Copernicus data analysis software (IDL-based), UIT data reduction and analysis software (FORTRAN, C, and IDL routines),  WUPPE data analysis software (FORTRAN routines requiring the FITSIO library), and HUT data reduction software (IRAF-based) are available through MAST. IDL software for analyzing IMAPS images will be made available in the future.

Mission Interfaces:  MAST worked closely with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) team in preparation for the SDSS Early Data Release. Team members applied their expertise in the design of the web interface, including query-based access to the data products, web page construction, and user documentation. Staff members continued to coordinate with the FUSE mission on FUSE data ingest, creation of preview data, database queries, and web access. MAST staff have developed working relationships with staff from all three of the instrument teams from the ORFEUS Project and with members of the Voyager UVS team. Contacts have been established with the GALEX SMEX misssion and the CHIPS UNEX mission teams.

Interoperability Activities:  The MAST web site has search pages and direct links to data retrievals at other astrophysics data centers (EUVE, ROSAT, and ASCA at HEASARC) and provides an interface that enables other sites to send queries to the MAST database.  MAST collaborates with the Astrophysics Data System (ADS) to provide links to published papers referencing specific data sets and links from the ADS abstracts to the archived data. MAST staff also serve on the Astrophysics Data Center Coordinating Council.

Major Activities and Accomplishments of the Past Year:

MAST Scrapbook. The first version of the MAST Spectral and Image Scrapbook was made public in June 2001. This tool allows a researcher to select and view representative MAST data for an astronomical object. The initial release included 5 spectroscopic (EUVE, FOS, GHRS, HUT, IUE) and one imaging (WFPC2) instruments. Supporting help pages, continues. Web pages provide user help, document the procedures for creating the spectral scrapbook, and describe the specifications for selecting the representative observations for each mission. The scrapbook was featured in an invited press release at the June AAS meeting.

Redesigned MAST Website. A major redesign of the MAST website was performed to provide easier navigation, improved access to information, and easier maintainability. Navigation menus at the top and left side of each page provide a common structure across missions. A common structure for the information in each mission was used, and omissions identified and fixed. User documentation was revised and brought up to date. The new website was announced in June 2001.

New Missions and Datasets. Several new missions and datasets were added to the MAST site, most notably the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Early Data Release. The SDSS webpages were made public in June 2001 in conjunction with the AAS meeting. MAST provides a simple query-based interface to the catalog through which users may retrieve data products (Atlas images, spectra, corrected frames, etc) from the SDSS site at Fermilab.

Data and supporting information were obtained from the Tuebingen Echelle Spectrograph (TUES), flown on the second ORFEUS mission, and incorporated into the MAST archive and website. The TUES project has been extremely cooperative, providing FITS files, preview data, the observing log, and a Java tool which displays wavelength and order number from the cursor position of the echelle spectral image file. TUES publications were identified and linked to the catalog search page.

MAST incorporated data from the second ORFEUS flight for the Berkeley Extreme and Far-UV Spectrometer (BEFS). The FITS files, observing log, preview plots, and literature links were all updated.

MAST added a simple interface supporting positional queries to the newly released Guide Star Catalog II (GSC-II).

Literature Links. The project to link professional publications and the MAST datasets they involve was fully implemented. Access to published papers based on MAST data is available through the archive search pages. The query output includes a "Ref" column, which links to a list of related papers. The latter follows the ADS bibliography code and is linked to the ADS Abstract Service, which provides electronic access to the paper. Similarly, queries to the ADS return links to the associated MAST datasets. The literature searches have been brought up to date and are now maintained on a monthly basis. A complementary effort by the HST Project for links to HST datasets is also well underway.

Press Releases. Three STScI press releases were based on MAST archive data and a new MAST service, and a press release from SDSS highlighted the availability of the data from MAST.

  • "Blast from the Past: Farthest Supernova Ever Seen Sheds Light on Dark Universe," STScI-PR01-09, A. Riess
  • "Magnetic Fields Weave Rings around Stars," STScI-PR01-19, M. Smith
  • "Early Results from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey: From Under Our Nose to the Edge of the Universe", SDSS 01-01, SDSS Team
  • "Build Your Own Space Scrapbook," STScI-PR01-17, M. Smith

Publication of Wavelength Study. The comprehensive evaluation of the wavelength calibrations for IUE high-dispersion data was published (M. Smith, Pub.A.S.P., Vol. 113, 882, 2001).

EUVE Support. Support for EUVE data users conveyed to MAST in January 2001 with the shutdown of the EUVE mission. The remaining webpages and documentation were transferred from the Berkeley site to MAST, just prior to the shutdown of the EUVE project.

MAST Users Group. A MAST Users Group has been established to provide advice to the MAST archive. The members are Thomas Ayres (chair, U. of Colorado), Luciana Bianchi (Johns Hopkins U.), Jane Charlton (Penn State U.), Andy Fruchter (STScI), Robert Nichol (Carnegie Mellon) and Paula Szkody (U. Washington). The first meeting of the MUG will occur in October 2001.

Customized Spectral Plots. An interactive plotting option was made available on the HUT, IUE, and EUVE preview pages. This allows researcherss to display and customize plots of flux versus wavelength as extracted from the ASCII table files associated with the preview data.

MAST Data Ingest Activity

Date Data Volume (GB) # Files Missions
Apr 2001 2.7 452 TUES, BEFS

MAST Data Retrieval Activity

Date Data Volume (GB) # Files
Jun 2000 2.1 6033
Jul 2000 3.8 6765
Aug 2000 1.6 3180
Sep 2000 2.1 3748
Oct 2000 2.7 4461
Nov 2000 4.6 4258
Dec 2000 1.3 2643
Jan 2001 5.0 2516
Feb 2001 6.1 2867
Mar 2001 13.1 4042
Apr 2001 3.0 2582
May 2001 13.4 3821

HST Data Ingest and Retrieval Activity

Date Ingest Volume (GB) Retrieval Volume (GB)
Jun 2000 95.2 440.2
Jul 2000 108.9 394.1
Aug 2000 95.2 637.5
Sep 2000 102.0 557.8
Oct 2000 99.8 515.4
Nov 2000 90.4 315.0
Dec 2000 108.5 540.7
Jan 2001 99.8 477.7
Feb 2001 89.1 728.7
Mar 2001 96.6 606.5
Apr 2001 89.7 580.7
May 2001 112.4 550.6

Plans and Schedule for the Coming Year:

MAST plans to continue to enhance the interoperability and scientific utility of our data holdings in the coming year through activities in the following areas.

Additional ultraviolet and optical data sets

  • Incorporate additional ultraviolet and optical data sets as they become available, including data from GALEX, SDSS, FUSE, CHIPS, and the Voyager UVS experiment.
  • Continue to work with new astrophysics mission projects, including the GALEX SMEX project, the CHIPS UNEX mission team, and the Kepler project, to assure access to these data sets via MAST and to help them develop plans for data delivery and long-term data access.
  • Operate the public science archive for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Upgrade the interface so that SDSS users may search by characteristics in addition to RA and Dec, and ingest approximately 1 TB of corrected frame data. Funding for the SDSS public science archive will require an augmentation to the current MAST budget.

Improved services for archival researchers

  • Create a WFPC2 Pointings Table to aid users wishing to coadd and analyze image data. The table will summarize the number of observations in the U, B, V, R and I bands and four line filters for unique WFPC2 pointings, where the definition for a pointing is the same as used by the MAST Scrapbook. A complementary table lists the specific observations associated with each pointing. The initial interface querys the table by RA and DEC, but will be expanded to additional scientifically useful queries.

  • Continue to upgrade the MAST website to improve capabilities and navigability. The performance of the newly redesigned website will be evaluated and changes made as needed. New technologies, including Java and object-oriented databases, will be incorporated to improve search engines, handle very large databases, provide new interactive research tools, and promote interoperability.
  • Continue to develop new interactive, web-based research tools. Additional missions will be added to the Spectral and Image Scrapbook, including STIS, BEFS, TUES, UIT, FOC, and FUSE. The scrapbook will also be enhanced to provide additional selection, customization, and display options, with an emphasis on multiwavelength and multimission tools.
  • Continue to provide assistance for archival researchers with questions about searches, retrievals, data characteristics, analysis software, and other issues related to MAST data.
  • Continue to acquire and make available higher-level MAST data products, such as atlases created by researchers.
Inter-archive Coordination Activities
  • In collaboration with the Chandra Data Archive (CDA), MAST will implement an interface to coordinated HST/Chandra observing programs, which will also link the two observatories in a more general way.
  • Federate access to pixel and catalog data. MAST, IRSA, and NED will seek AISRP funding to simplify the process of locating and extracting observations relevant to an astronomer's science goals. This will be achieved by cross-identifying individual astrophysical objects on the sky with archival images of extended regions that contain data for those objects.
  • Provide inter-archive access to new image and spectral data display tools by establishing guidelines with IRSA, IPAC, and HEASARC for the exchange of catalogs, thumbnail images and plots, data files, and software.
  • Continue leadership of literature link project through participation in ADCCC working group. Establish guidelines for electronic data identification standards.
  • Help define the equivalent of a "world coordinate system" (wcs) for spectral data to enhance inter-archive utilization of common tools.
  • Participate in incorporation of GLU protocols to enhance inter-archive query exchanges.
  • Participate in the conceptual development of the planned Virtual Observatory.
  • Continue active participation in the ADCCC.
Improved support for public outreach and education
  • With the HST Office of Public Outreach (OPO), develop a web-based learning site that will highlight multi-wavelength archives and astronomy as well as virtual observatory capabilities for use by educators.