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How to Use this Handbook

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Welcome to Volume II of the third edition of the HST Data Handbook. This volume focuses on the instruments that are no longer onboard the spacecraft-the heritage instruments. These instruments are: FOS, GHRS, HSP, and WF/PC-1.

The goal of this handbook is to show you how to work with HST data files, from acquiring them through the Archive, to displaying them on your workstation, to analyzing them with the IRAF and STSDAS software packages. This handbook assumes no previous knowledge of HST data, IRAF, or STSDAS beyond that needed to compose a successful HST observing proposal, but if you are unfamilar with IRAF, a basic primer is provided in Appendix A.

This volume is intended to be the primary source of calibration, data reduction, and reference information for the heritage instruments.

The many years of operation of these instruments have provided a rich legacy of unique observational material in the HST Archive. Readers of this volume will commonly be archive researchers who, as time passes, will be more and more likely to have little or no direct knowledge of the instruments used to obtain their data. As a result, many discussions in this volume are more detailed than the overview of the data reduction process for current instruments found in Volume I. Nonetheless, some topics remain beyond the scope of this document and we point toward other sources of more detailed information when needed.

Additional help with HST data is always available via E-mail to the STScI Help Desk at

In order to improve the Data Handbook, we need your help. Please send your comments, corrections, or suggestions to We need to know what is missing and what is too detailed, what is effective and what is not, so that we can improve the Data Handbook and the rest of the HST documentation.

If you have no previous experience with HST, you should read the first three chapters in Volume I of this handbook before specific instrument chapters. Appendixes B, C, and E, describe HST file names, Observation Logs, and Internet resources, respectively, and contain information of general interest. The rest of this preface provides more complete information on using the HST Data Handbook.

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Last updated: 01/14/98 14:25:36