AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 76 Data Handling, Computation
Poster, Thursday, June 3, 2004, 9:20am-4:00pm, Ballroom

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[76.04] Spectral Energy Distributions in the Virtual Observatory

J. C. McDowell, G. Fabbiano, I. Evans (SAO)

We present a formalism for describing and handling spectral energy distributions in the Virtual Observatory, and discuss some of the technical problems in combining photometric and spectrophotometric information from heterogeneous archives.

The metadata that must be handled by spectral energy distributions (SEDs) include not only flux, wavelength and error data but transmission curves to allow color corrections, aperture extraction information to handle spatially correlated variation, and of course timing metadata to track variability. We present an abstract data model for SEDs compatible with the Simple Spectral Access Protocol being developed by the Virtual Observatory and present example XML and FITS serializations.

An important example of work with SEDs is the generation of typical SEDs for classes of objects, and we present a discussion of the use of censored data statistics in determining percentiles of the distribution of SEDs for such classes in the presence of upper limit data at different wavelengths.

We acknowledge support from NSF grant no. AST 0121296 and Cooperative Agreement AST 0122449, as well as the Chandra X-ray Center under NASA contract NAS8-39073.

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