26 November 2013

MAST Discovery Portal Goes Live

Scott Fleming STScI

The Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST) Discovery Portal is now available online. MAST is home to more than 15 missions, including Hubble, Kepler, Swift, and XMM-Newton, and many of these have had their own separate search interfaces from which to access their data. No longer! The MAST Discovery Portal allows users with a single search to locate all data MAST has on a particular target or in a particular field. Not only does this simplify searching for known data, but it also allows for discovery of data on your targets that you may not have been aware of, subsequently enabling new research capabilities. For example, a quick search on "M60" results in data from six different missions, ranging from the 1980s to the present, including both images and spectra, and all of which are available for previewing or downloading.

In addition to data at MAST, users can search for data available through the Virtual Observatory, either by providing a resolvable target name or coordinates or by using the "Search The VO" button in the More Information window for a given MAST data product. The VO gives Portal users access to data spanning the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio to high energy, including images, spectra, catalogs, and even NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) records. You can browse contents and download the data from within the Portal without having to leave to visit other sites. Basic plotting tools allow you to visualize metadata from your search results. You can also upload your own tables of targets (IDs and coordinates) for use within the Portal. Cross-matching can be done with all MAST data or any data available through the Strasbourg Astronomical Data Center (CDS).

Learn more about the MAST Discovery Portal by watching our introductory videos (short, 2-minute videos explaining the basics of how to use the Portal) or by visiting the Portal's help page. Note that the tutorial videos currently do not have voiceover. Watch for more improvements in the future, as we continue to add new functionality and data into the Portal. Among the best ways are to read the MAST Newsletter, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. If you have questions or comments, please email them to MAST.