Standards Add

FITS (Flexible Image Transport System) Edit

FITS is an image data file format for encoding astronomical data. The WCS (World Coordinate System) conventions map elements in data arrays to standard physical coordinates in the sky. FITS has provisions for image metadata encoded in an ASCII header at the beginning of files.

SDAC (Standard for Documentation of Astronomical Catalogues) Edit

The Standard for Documentation of Astronomical Catalogues is a set of conventions for archiving astronomical data. As well as path, filename and data format conventions, it also specifies how to construct a plain text description file for documenting the data files. It was developed as an alternative to FITS that would be more suited to archives, permit human inspection, and allow manipulation via standard Unix command-line tools.

SDAC was developed by CDS (Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg). Version 2.0 is the most recent; it was released in February 2000.

Extensions Add

FITS World Coordinate System (WCS) Edit

An extension of FITS that enables data to be defined to specify physical, or world coordinates within each pixel in an image. The conventions were orignally proposed in 2002 then incorporated into the 3.0 release of the FITS standard.

Tools Add

FITS Image Software Packages Edit
SDAC Tools Edit

A set of four tools for working with SDAC-compliant archives: acut can be used to edit text files in a columnar fashion; trcol removes or transforms columns from a text file; anafile verifies that data files conform to their description; tofits converts SDAC tables to FITS tables.

Use Cases Add

CDS (Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg) Edit

CDS (Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg/Strasbourg astronomical Data Centre) is a member of the ICSU World Data System, specializing in astronomical data and related information. Its VizieR catalogue system uses SDAC to organize data and metadata holdings.

ESA (European Space Agency) Edit

ESA is an international organisation with 20 Member States that coordinates the financial and intellectual resources of it's members to facilitate space related programmes and activities. Image data is released using FITS for many missions.


The High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC) is the primary archive for NASA's (and other space agencies') missions dealing with electromagnetic radiation from extremely energetic phenomena ranging from black holes to the Big Bang.

IVOA (International Virtual Observatory Alliance) Edit

The International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA) is an organisation that debates and agrees to technical standards that are needed to make the Virtual Observatory possible. FITS is one of those standards.

JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Edit

Japan's independent administrative institution that handles research and development in space and aviation areas.

STEREO Science Center Edit

Archive for STEREO telemetry, mission support data, and higher level instrument data and analysis software.

Virtual Solar Observatory Edit