Because good research needs good data



FITS World Coordinate System (WCS)

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.

Resource Metadata for the Virtual Observatory

Defines metadata terms and concepts necessary for discovery and use of astronomical data collections and services.

The extension is based on Dublin Core, but with astronomy-specific extensions. Resource Metadata are collected in resource "registries" that are populated and synchronized using the OAI-PMH (Protocol for Metadata Handling). Version 1.12, March 2007. Developed and maintained by IVOA Resource Registry Working Group and NVO Metadata Working Group


FITS Image Software Packages
Software packages that display or manipulate the relatively simple class of FITS data files that containing 2-dimensional images
SDAC Tools

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

CDS - Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg

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

ESA - European Space Agency

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.

IVOA - International Virtual Observatory Alliance

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

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

Virtual Solar Observatory

Metadata standards

SDAC - Standard for Documentation of Astronomical Catalogues

Used as an alternative to FITS for archiving astronomical data in a form that is more accessible to humans and standard Unix command-line tools.