Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute and the Johns Hopkins University, both in Baltimore, Maryland, have created a new master catalog of astronomical objects called the Hubble Source Catalog. The catalog provides one-stop shopping for measurements of objects observed with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.
“The Hubble Source Catalog is arguably the Hubble Space Telescope’s ultimate legacy,” said Tamas Budavari of the Johns Hopkins University, IDIES affiliate and member of the Hubble Source Catalog development team. “Not only is it a one-stop shop, but it’s the first place to go. It’s the table of contents for and the summary of most Hubble observations. If a zillion investigators pointed Hubble in the same direction at their region of interest in different wavelengths, now we have taken all of those observations and put them together into a compilation of the measurements for all objects within that region.”
Hubble has amassed a rich legacy of images and other scientific data over its 25 years of exploring the universe. All of the images are stored in the computer-based Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST), which astronomers use for their research. The archive is bursting with more than a million images, which contain roughly 100 million small sources ranging from distant galaxies to compact star clusters to individual stars. For astronomers, however, a major challenge is the difficulty involved with sifting through the archival gold mine to collect the data they want to analyze. The Hubble Source Catalog now allows astronomers to perform a computer search for characteristics of these sources, receiving information within seconds or minutes.
Join Hubble scientists during a live Hubble Hangout discussion about the Hubble Source Catalog at 3pm (EDT) on Thurs., March 19 to learn more.