Multi-mission Archive at Space Telescope (MAST)
(Optical/UV Science Archive Research Center)
Space Telescope Science Institute
3700 San Martin Drive
Baltimore, MD 21218
MAST supports active and legacy mission datasets and related catalogs and surveys,
focusing primarily on data in the ultraviolet, optical, and near-IR spectral
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 delivery plans, and assuring data quality control.
MAST also works with the VO team in its ongoing program to provide
data products, tools, and web services that are VO-compliant.
MAST provides support for
users seeking to understand the properties and instrumental signatures
of all archived datasets 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 continues on a time-available basis. Full support
for HST related software is provided by the MAST Help Desk and
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/analysis software
(FORTRAN, C, and IDL routines), and HUT data
reduction software (IRAF-based) are available through MAST.
This report covers data financially supported under the "MAST" contract.
Archive and distribution activities for HST data are supported under the HST contract.
Some HST statistics are included in this report, but more complete information on HST activities
can be found in the STScI Newsletters and in
the STSci Annual Reports.
Questions about HST can be directed to email@example.com.
The MAST archive currently contains data from NASA's Optical/UV missions.
In addition to the active GALEX and FUSE missions, MAST archives data from the IUE, EUVE, Copernicus,
ASTRO and ORFEUS missions.
During this reporting time period, GALEX received two major data releases, GR2 in mid 2006 and GR3
in December 2006 in addition to several Guest Investigator data releases. For more detail see
the section on GALEX.
The FUSE project continued making delivery of newly acquired data throughout the reporting period, although
the pace slowed considerably during the time needed for the project to recover from loss of a reaction wheel.
The project processed about half of their archive using CALFUSE3.1. The project plans to reprocess the
entire archive with newly improved CALFUSE3.2 pipeline. For more detail see the section on FUSE.
During this reporting period MAST began to archive mosaic products from the XMM Optical Monitor instrument.
This is done in collaboration with HEASARC, our sister NASA archive.
We anticipate that these data will be very useful especially when used with GALEX data.
During this reporting period, MAST also began to archive HPOL data that is complementary/supplementary data
to the ASTRO/WUPPE instrument data.
While the main HST archive activities are funded by the project, eventually the HST archive will become part of the MAST archive, so some information about HST related activities are included in some statistics.
A healthy rate of ingest and retrievals continued duing this reporting period.
In general the average number of searches per month increased about 30% during this reporting period
over the average from the last reporting period. This increase is probably due to increased use of the
VO registered Simple Cone Search web service.
The large increase in downloads late 2006 for a number of the missions is due the activities of a single user downloading significant amounts of data.
GALEX retrievals hit a high peak immediately after the GR2 release in June 2006 and maintained a trend of higher
level of retrievals through then end of the reporting period. Another peak of activity can be expected
upon the release of the GR3 release.
FUSE data was archived into DADS upon receipt from the project. MAST is also building an online
cache of the public data so that it will be available via anonymous ftp and easily formatted for access by
the VO SSAP service. The cache is being created as the data are reprocessed with the CALFuse3.1 pipeline.
The cached data will be replaced as the project reprocesses the data with the CALFuse3.2 pipeline.
MAST maintains a searchable database of FUSE proposal abstracts with the associated PIs.
The use of the XMM-OM data is promising. An expected delivery of new and replacement data in 2007, will
expand the holdings and the usefulness of the data.
Table of ingest and retrieval activity for reporting period is in Appendix B.
Total number of mission searches, previews and datasets downloaded during the reporting period
The number of datasets downloaded each month per mission during the reporting period.
Number of searches for individual mission data per month
Number of previews downloaded per mission per month
MAST has several search tools that complement the individual mission searches.
To the right is a summary of the use of these services or tools.
The category VO includes all VO searches (e.g. SIAP, SSAP and SCS)
The count of cross-correlation includes all uses of the VizieR catalog and Ned catalog cross-correlations, as well
as cross-correlations between one MAST
mission and another. Literature Link Services includes all links to the
pages that correlate refereed journal articles with the data used in
the paper. These include links from the ADS and CDS as well as internal
links. The GALEX Skynode is a VO service, but was categorized
CasJobs is a GALEX tool that permits quick and personalized GALEX
searches and allows an individual or a team to save the results in a
private database table, thus permitting easy collaboration. The "Other"
category includes use of the MAST scrapbook, coplotting, and the HST pointings tools.
Tools that were developed or significantly enhanced during the past 18 months are itemized below.
The MAST/NED Search Interface
In response to suggestions made during a MAST Users Group (MUG) meeting,
staff members developed a search tool that allows users to search the NASA
Extragalactic Database (NED) as a web service by object name,
position, or object category. Optionally, users may also cross
correlate the results with archived MAST missions.
A search help page was written to assist users in navigating and
understanding the search options the tool provides.
This search tool complements the MAST/VizieR Search Interface developed during the prior Reporting period.
New Interfaces and Upload tools
Final processing was done on the datasets for the HST legacy
instruments GHRS, FOC, and FOS under the HST contract. MAST
constructed an interface form "HSTONLINE" in order that users may
download these final products without submitting a batch request
through DADS. (This page went on line in January, just after the
HST/ACS images are now accessible from the MAST scrapbook.
A link was added to the scrapbook search results that displays the image in the Aladin interface.
The datasets that have been chosen as representative for the Scrapbook are marked as
representative in the table providing VO access to the MAST archive. The flag makes a MAST
Scrapbook VO service possible and this service has been registered and used by the VO community.
Pointings Search tool
The algorithm for creation of the "pointings" tables and the web interface to access the pointings tables
were extensively enhanced. The algorithm was modified so that more observations could be included in a
"pointing" desgination and the pointings designation was stabilized so that searches on a specific pointing
could be easily replicated. The interface was rewritten in PHP so that all the standard MAST interface
options are included. Users may select whether the output is a summary of the pointings or a detailed
list of the observations included in a pointings. The pointings search tool can also be accessed as
a webservice GET request, permitting it to be included within scripts.
Journal / MAST data interface
MAST has also modified the interface that lists data used in a journal paper so that a standard
search results table is returned, providing more information than the prior interface.
The additional information allows users to see previews, associated
Community-Contributed High Level Science Products and to easily download the data.
The ADS publication service links to this page from their website.
Data IDs allowed in File Uploads
All MAST search interfaces have a "file upload" option so that a user can load a list of targets
or coordinates rather than entering them individually. During this reporting period, the interface
was enhanced to allow a list of dataset names or IDs to be uploaded.
FUSE spectra have been added to the list of mission
datasets that the Spectrum Coplotting tool may access.
The development of this spectral analysis tool has been supported
during the reporting period by MAST. During this period Specview
has been modified to provide considerable several new scientific and
browsing functionalities. As a first step, a "trusted applet" was
incorporated into the web-based version of this tool, allowing users
to view and manipulation of spectral data on one's own computer. Specview
also now recognizes the spectral mission studied by means of the dataset
name. New functionalities include the (applet-enabled) loading and
displaying previews of the spectroscopic missions of HST, EUVE, Orfeus,
Astro, IUE (low dispersion), and FUSE. Later in the reporting period,
this capability was greatly enhanced by enabling Specview to request
data from these missions by means of VO-registered web services
instead of manually importing the spectra from the MAST archive to
one's computer disk. Specview also now allows spectral line libraries
to be uploaded in order to facilitate identifications of lines found
in imported spectra. Fitting of spectra generated by theoretical
Kurucz model atmopsheres. This capability was expanded to allow fits of
observed spectra to a grid of either theoretical spectra or standard
star spectra. A new capability has been added to identify regions of
a spectrum as "continuum" and to fit a polynomial function to these
segments. The observed spectrum may then be divided by this continuum
fit to produce a rectified spectrum. The output spectrum may now be
written in plain ascii format. MAST staff have worked with teams at
NED (Caltech), at the University of Paris, and Dupont Research to
integrate Specview into some of these groups' applications.
MAST worked closely with the developers of this VO spectral analysis tool,
developed by the ESA VO project at ESAC.
The initial version of the tool was developed prior to the release of the draft SSAP and
based on the SIAP, assuming that the Spectral protocol would be very similar. The initial
design of the MAST database for SSAP queries, was based on this assumption and the intial
requirements of the ESAC defined SSAP. As the actual SSAP has been refined, so too have
the MAST table and VOSpec tool. MAST has helped test the tool and provided valuable feedback
to the team.
MAST staff members collaborated with the CDS to provide access to much of the
MAST image data through the CDS (Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg)
image vizualization tool Aladin.
Initially, MAST staff included links to bring up preview data in Aladin from MAST preview pages.
Subsequently, MAST staff members did the work to add a "MAST" button
to the Aladin interface that allows quick and direct access to the MAST image holdings
utilizing the VO SIAP interface. Data from GALEX, UIT, VLA-FIRST, XMM-OM, the HLSP
and HST image previews are all accessible through this button.
The GLU file that MAST updated to create the new button was sent to CDS so that it
became a standard Aladin image selection option.
The Aladin applet is installed in the MAST website at http://archive.stsci.edu/nph-aladin.pl
High Level Science Products
High Level Science Products are community contributed highly processed science ready data files.
MAST staff members work with the contributing teams to ensure that the data are compliant with standards
and are well documented. Many times, MAST staff members prepare a website in collaboration with the team. MAST
staff members also work with the team to map the original data products used to the final HLSP.
This mapping makes it easy for the community to see what higher-level data are available as well as
to see what data were used to create the HLSPs. Image data are registered and available through a SIAP web service.
MAST anticipates making the spectral HLSP available through VO interfaces during the next reporting period,
assuming that the VO adopts a final SSAP protocol.
Since the HLSP are located in an anonymous FTP area,
cannot precisely measure the number of distinct users downloading the
data. However, we can tabulate the number of distinct domains
downloading the data. During the reporting period, over 12,800 distinct
domains downloaded HLSP. The plot shown to the right shows the number
of distinct domains downloading files for each set of HLSP during this
reporting period. The number of domains for those HLSP sets acquired or
significantly augmented during the reporting year are shown in pink.
Click on the image to see a full-sized plot.
Twelve sets of High Level Science Products (HLSP) were delivered and archived during the past 18 months.
HLSPs from the Cosmic Evolution Survey - COSMOS HST treasury program were made available through MAST in April 2006.
While COSMOS team has acquired data using both ground and space based instruments from spanning many wavelength regimes, MAST has archived the HLSP created from the HST and GALEX data.
An atlas of galaxies prepared by Gil de Paz et.al using GALEX data was made public in September 2006. Some data that are still proprietary team data, will be made public upon publication of the associated journal article.
MAST staff members wrote a wrapper for an IDL program provided by a member of the GOODS team that creates cut-out images
from the GOODS data. Version 1 of the tool is available to the public and can be accessed from the MAST/GOODS web page.
A version using a new version of the GOODS data was developed, but is only available to GOODS team members until final
delivery of the GOODS HLSP.
See Appendix C for a complete listing of HLSP holdings and retrieval statistics.
A complete listing of HLSP hosted at MAST is below. Although MAST
provides an interface to the WFPC2 Associations, the data are
held at CADC. MAST distributes the data via a proxy.
MAST publishes an electronic newsletter about every six months and maintains
an archive of these newsletters online.
MAST activities are also included in the STScI Newsletter which is usually published quarterly.
MAST conducted a comprehensive survey of user preferences,
attitudes, and search practices. Results and responses to some comments
were presented to the MAST Users Group and also
placed on the web.
MAST staff participated in several conferences or workshops (AAS, ADASS, IVOA and NVO).
Based on MAST'sannual users' surveys and empirical usage patterns,
MAST has found that Tutorials are an excellent device to educate both
novice and expert users of its web pages and tools.
In 2006 MAST wrote a tutorial on the overall site and useage of
various attributes of its websites. These included chapters on its
missions, tools, navigational and searching tips, and mining of
A second new tutorial was written on the usage of the VizieR/NED
Cross-correlation page at MAST, which allows
the user to take full advantage of the VizieR and NED databases for
stellar and extragalactic catalogs, respectively, and the greater
flexibility provided by MAST's search options. The latter Tutorial
walks the user through many of the websit's functionality by posing
typical questions concerning the availability of MAST objects and
their most relevant attributes. Searches may be made on the basis
of an input object name or by cone search around coordinates.
The Specview tool and the GALEX mission are likewise sufficiently
empowering for tutorials to be helpful, and for some purposes
necessary. These tutorials were initially written in the
previous reporting period but have been revised with the addition
of tool/site functionality or mission data release. Like the
VizieR/NED tutorial, the Specview takes the user through a number
of steps, specifically to build a composite spectrum from spectra
of several missions and to condition the final spectrum by
filtering it with a Fourier filter and output the results. With
the functionality added during the reporting period, it will be
necessary to split the existing tutorial into two new ones.
In contrast, the GALEX tutorial navigates the user through the
MAST/GALEX website because GALEX users have generally avoided
reading long help pages. The tutorial therefore points out certain
features (such as tool tips and help paragraphs that appear from
a user's "mouse over") and also points out documentation not
available anywhere else on the meaning of keywords and definition
of files from the public and GI releases. The tutorial also discusses
how to use of a number of search, retrieval, and "playpen" tools,
such as "CasJobs," by example.
MAST Literature Links:
The publications database and the links between scientific papers
and the referenced MAST datasets are regularly updated
as new citations become available through the ADS.
To the right is a plot showing the number of papers published in referred
journals during the reporting period (July 2005 through December 2006).
MAST tracks the number of citations per paper in the journal database.
We obtain the total number of citations per paper from the ADS. The count is updated at least once
To the right is a chart that shows the average number of citations for papers published that year.
The citation record for IUE from 1978 through 1991 is not included in this plot.
The "fall-off" in the average number of citations per paper for those articles published more recently
is due to the lag between publication of a paper and citation of a paper in a later publication.
Meylan, Madrid and Macchetto published a paper in
PASP,116:790 entitled "HST Science Metrics".
These authors state that the peak of the citation rate occurs about 2 years after publication.
We show to the right a plot of the average number of citations per paper over the
publication lifetime per mission. (Papers from the years 2005-2006
are excluded, so the average number of citations per paper (in pink)
increases due to the lag between publication of a paper and citation in
a later publication.)
Staffing Chages At MAST
Anthony Rodgers joined the MAST staff on a part-time basis to work on GALEX software.
Antonio Volpicelli is also working as a part-time consultant on GALEX related work.
Both are salaried from the MAST contract for this work.
Plans for Coming Year
We anticipate that the CHIPS dataset (for operations prior to October, 2005) will be delivered and staged.
Data will continue to be relased steadily from FUSE and as GALEX Release 4, in late 2007.
We anticipate that we will receive image mosaic data from the XMM-OM project at HEASARC on a regular basis.
Future Services for Ongoing Missions:
We plan to include the STIS final calibrated dataset in the HSTONLINE site for quick downloads.
Ingest of final FUSE dataset. MAST will meet with the FUSE Project Scientist and
members of the Project to identify documents that
should be transferred to the MAST site as on-line documentation or
storage at a deeper level. A plan has been developed to spotcheck
reprocessed data for errors in order to prevent data from being
lost as older, but properly processed, datasets are overwritten.
GALEX' new navigational and mining tools including
Google-style maps and a download manager for
As part of its outreach activities, MAST is supporting the STScI Google Sky project,
which will be an interface to the Digitized Sky Survey, HST images, and images from other MAST missions.
We expect this system to be widely used both by the public and by astronomers.
Further work on the Kepler DB and data access. This includes the prototype of the Kepler Target Catalog.
MAST will provide a Spectral Services utility that permits users to
perform cone searches on objects for which GALEX grism spectra are
available. The service will permit users to manipulate spectra with
a coplotting tool. The MAST/GALEX group is also developing footprint
services that will permit users to perform general cross correlations
of objects in nonoverlapping GALEX sky fields and with objects observed
with GALEX and other survey missions. Shopping cart services are being
developed for GALEX public release data to permit users to create their
own customized fits files of collections of objects of interest.
Google-style maps for GALEX browsing of sky images:
A "Google-style" sky map is being developed for GALEX data. This tool
will allow users to roam, pan/zoom, and to differentiate sky "tiles"
based on the survey type. This tool is expected to greatly simplify
website navigation and to greatlly facilitate data searches on interesting
MAST will distribute several new High Level Data products from a
range of GI and HST-Treasury programs. These will include several sets of Hubble Heritage data,
a set of reprocessed IUE High Dispersion data reprocessed with a new processing algorithm
developed by a team with an AISRP grant, and data associated with an HST Treasurey Program.
We also anticipate archiving data from an HST ACS treasury program examining Globular Clusters.