Space Telescope Science Institute
STIS Data Handbook 6.0 May 2011
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STIS Data Handbook > Preface

How to Use this Handbook
This handbook describes data from the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) onboard the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and how to manipulate, calibrate, and analyze those data. The current version of the STIS Data Handbook is presented as an independent and self-contained document, extensively built on the contents of version 6 of the HST Data Handbook. Users are referred to a companion volume, Introduction to the HST Data Handbooks, for more general information about the details of acquiring data from the HST archive, HST file formats, and general purpose software for displaying and processing HST data. For detailed information on the capabilities of the instrument, and how to plan observations, users should refer to the STIS Instrument Handbook. For further information and timely updates, users should consult the STIS Web page (, especially the Document Archive link. In particular, the STScI Analysis Newsletters (STANs) highlight changes in code and calibration procedures and provide other instrument-related news. The Instrument Science Reports (ISRs) present in-depth characterizations of the instrument and detailed explanations of calibration code and procedures.
The current edition of the STIS Data Handbook was completed in early-2011. The last major revision was published in January 2002, following the failure of the Side-1 electronics and the successful resumption of operations using Side-2 electronics in the summer of 2001. STIS continued to perform well until the Side-2 electronics failed on 3 August 2004. STIS was successfully repaired during the fourth HST servicing mission (SM4) in May 2009 and has resumed science operations with all channels.
A static archive of all STIS data taken prior to the Side-2 failure was prepared in 2006 using the latest calibration code and reference files, and has now replaced On-the-Fly Reprocessing (OTFR) of STIS data. At that time, substantial improvements were made to calibration and pipeline codes and reference files (see Section 1.5). New STIS data taken after the 2009 repair will be processed through OTFR when requested from the HST archive. This will allow the data to be calibrated with the most up-to-date versions of the software and reference files.

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