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Search and Retrieval

HST data can be found using the HST search form to query the Hubble Data Archive (HDA) catalog. The catalog is stored in relational database tables at STScI, but users do not need to know about databases or Structured Query Language (SQL) to browse through it. The two possible user interfaces are the java-based StarView application and the web-based HST search page. These interfaces take care of the technical details and makes searching the catalog quick and easy. Both interfaces take the user's specifications - e.g., right ascension and declination, filter, exposure time, release date, etc. - and search the database for exposures that match them. They then return the search results in a table format or one record at a time. (One can save these results to a file.)

If you have a list of dataset names you want to retrieve, you can use the Retrievals by Dataset form, which is very cut-and-paste friendly and can also extract HST data set names out of mail messages, paragraphs of text, etc.

Information on the Archive Status and recently archived and recently released HST data is also available. A web page is also available with advice on submitting large requests.

Users may also search the HST proposal abstracts and/or proposal titles for specific character strings. This interface also allows the user to search for a specific Guest Investigator. A new search interface is now available to search for HST Press Release Images. The current database list images from 2008 - 2014 and includes links to both JPEG and Tiff images. More images will be added in the future.

After searching the HDA with one of the two available interfaces, the datasets of interest can be marked for retrieval with the `Mark' button and then submitted for retrieval to DADS, the HST Data Archiving and Distribution Service. Different retrieval options are available, including ftp of the data to the user's home machine and transfer to the archive staging disk. DADS will send email when the request is completed.

We also make available tools to provide users with information about the best reference files for HST datasets. Please see the page on Best Reference Files for archival HST dataset retrievals for more information.

HST data is proprietary for one year. Proprietary datasets may be retrieved only by the investigator (or those authorized by the investigator) who proposed for time to observe the target during that time period. Users of proprietary data MUST have an STScI SSO account. Check at this link to determine if you have an SSO Account. If you do not, a link on the page will take you to the registration page. Although public or non-proprietary data may be retrieved anonymously, anybody may register for an STScI SSO account. When retrieving data anonymously, use anonymous as the account name and your email address as the password. The email address is used to inform you of your request status.

Users who choose to have their data copied to the archive staging disk, may retrieve the data by ftp. Users who have retrieved their data via their archive account should follow this basic script:

logon with archive user name and password
cd /stage/user name/requestid

Users who have retrieved their data anonymously should follow this basic script:

logon as anonymous using email address as the password
cd /stage/anonymous/requestid

After data has been retrieved users are encouraged to delete their own data by issuing the command mdele * within the directory. This will save space on the staging disk. Data will be deleted from the disk in 3-4 days automatically.