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Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3 Post-Observation


When an observation occurs on HST, operations staff check that the observation executed correctly.  They will notify the PI if there was an obvious problem with the observation, such as a guide star acquisition failure.   When the data from the observation has been stored in the archive and processed, the PI is notified that his or her data are ready for retrieval from MAST.  

Checking your data

It is the PI's responsibility to assess the scientific quality of the data and to notify the Institute if there was a problem in the quality of the data. Therefore as soon as possible after the data has been archived, and certainly with a few weeks of the observation, the PI or a designate should inspect the data to assure that that there were no major anomalies in the data.   For WFC3, if the PI suspects a problem, the PI should call or email the contact scientist for the program (or failing to reach the contact scientist send a message to the help desk).  The contact scientist will discuss the problem with you and advise about your options.  These options include submitting an official Hubble Observation Problem Report (pronounced "hopper") which could result in having the observation rescheduled if the problem is deemed to have been one that should not reasonably have been anticipated.  There are time-deadlines for submitting a HOPR, which is one of the many reasons it is advisable to inspect the data promptly.

Getting your data

MAST, the Multimission Archive at Space Telescope is the archive where HST data are stored and processed.  MAST contains both the raw data and calibrated data for all HST observations.  Both raw and calibrated data are in standard FITS formats that are described in the WFC3 Data Handbook, which should be your starting point for understanding the data from the archive. "Raw data" here  means "raw data" in the same sense that one obtains "raw data" from a ground-based telescope, not a telemetry stream from the space craft.  "Calibrated data" is the data after processing with the standard WFC3 calibration pipeline.  Only the PI or designees of the PI can retrieve the data from the archive within the proprietary period (usually one-year) of the observation. 

Analyzing your data

The WFC3 Data Handbook is the primary document describing how to work with WFC3 data using tools, STSDAS, Pyraf, and Multidrizzle provided by STScI to re-reduce and to analyze HST data.

Publishing your data

Ultimately, you will publish the results in the scientific literature.  Publications involving HST data (whether for new observations or for analysis of archived and now public data) should be accompanied with proper acknowledgments to NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute as described in the Publication Guidelines for HST Results.

Spreading the word

Hubble Space Telescope is funded by the public and consequently it is very important that newsworthy findings be reported in the public media.  The Office of Public Outreach at STScI has resources to assist with the outreach efforts for HST, and coordinates its activities with those of NASA.  The types of public release, the policies and procedures and the the procedures for public releases are described here.  The most recent public releases of HST data can be fond at the HST news center.

Created 04/21/2010 MJD