Wide Field Astronomy Unit (WFAU)

Author: Martin Donnelly

Published: 8 December 2005

The Wide Field Astronomy Unit (WFAU) creates and curates astronomical data, serving a large community of data re-users.

Linking its databases with the nascent Virtual Observatory, WFAU collections are made available to the entire community.

Regular curation tasks include loading catalogues into a database, matching them with prior observations, preparing data for publication via a web interface, and occasional recalibration and replacement.

The data products extracted from the WFAU archives are mostly held in the Flexible Image Transport System (FITS) format. The set of keywords used in FITS metadata records is defined only by weak constraints, not by a controlled list.

As a result, records can be difficult to interpret beyond the institution which generated them, creating potential problems for data centres which ingest quantities of externally created data.

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