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      A case study in adaptable and reusable infrastructure at the Keck Observatory Archive: VO interfaces, moving targets, and more

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          Abstract

          This paper describes how the Keck Observatory Archive (KOA) is extending open source software components to develop new services. In August 2015, KOA deployed a program interface to discover public data from all instruments equipped with an imaging mode. The interface complies with version 2 of the Simple Imaging Access Protocol (SIAP), under development by the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA), which defines a standard mechanism for discovering images through spatial queries. The heart of the KOA service is an R-tree-based, database-indexing mechanism prototyped by the Virtual Astronomical Observatory (VAO) and further developed by the Montage Image Mosaic project, designed to provide fast access to large imaging data sets as a first step in creating wide-area image mosaics. The KOA service uses the results of the spatial R-tree search to create an SQLite data database for further relational filtering. The service uses a JSON configuration file to describe the association between instrument parameters and the service query parameters, and to make it applicable beyond the Keck instruments. The R-tree program was itself extended to support temporal (in addition to spatial) indexing, in response to requests from the planetary science community for a search engine to discover observations of Solar System objects. With this 3D-indexing scheme, the service performs very fast time and spatial matches between the target ephemerides, obtained from the JPL SPICE service. Our experiments indicate these matches can be more than 100 times faster than when separating temporal and spatial searches. Images of the tracks of the moving targets, overlaid with the image footprints, are computed with a new command-line visualization tool, mViewer, released with the Montage distribution. The service is currently in test and will be released in Fall 2016.

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          The Virtual Astronomical Observatory: Re-engineering Access to Astronomical Data

          The U.S. Virtual Astronomical Observatory was a software infrastructure and development project designed both to begin the establishment of an operational Virtual Observatory (VO) and to provide the U.S. coordination with the international VO effort. The concept of the VO is to provide the means by which an astronomer is able to discover, access, and process data seamlessly, regardless of its physical location. This paper describes the origins of the VAO, including the predecessor efforts within the U.S. National Virtual Observatory, and summarizes its main accomplishments. These accomplishments include the development of both scripting toolkits that allow scientists to incorporate VO data directly into their reduction and analysis environments and high-level science applications for data discovery, integration, analysis, and catalog cross-comparison. Working with the international community, and based on the experience from the software development, the VAO was a major contributor to international standards within the International Virtual Observatory Alliance. The VAO also demonstrated how an operational virtual observatory could be deployed, providing a robust operational environment in which VO services worldwide were routinely checked for aliveness and compliance with international standards. Finally, the VAO engaged in community outreach, developing a comprehensive web site with on-line tutorials, announcements, links to both U.S. and internationally developed tools and services, and exhibits and hands-on training .... All digital products of the VAO Project, including software, documentation, and tutorials, are stored in a repository for community access. The enduring legacy of the VAO is an increasing expectation that new telescopes and facilities incorporate VO capabilities during the design of their data management systems.
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            Metadata and Data Management for the Keck Observatory Archive

            A collaboration between the W. M. Keck Observatory (WMKO) in Hawaii and the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI) in California, the Keck Observatory Archive (KOA) was commissioned in 2004 to archive observing data from WMKO, which operates two classically scheduled 10 m ground-based telescopes. The observing data from Keck is not suitable for direct ingestion into the archive since the metadata contained in the original FITS headers lack the information necessary for proper archiving. Coupled with different standards among instrument builders and the heterogeneous nature of the data inherent in classical observing, in which observers have complete control of the instruments and their observations, the data pose a number of technical challenges for KOA. We describe the methodologies and tools that we have developed to successfully address these difficulties, adding content to the FITS headers and "retrofitting" the metadata in order to support archiving Keck data, especially those obtained before the archive was designed. With the expertise gained from having successfully archived observations taken with all eight currently active instruments at WMKO, we have developed lessons learned from handling this complex array of heterogeneous metadata that help ensure a smooth ingestion of data not only for current but also future instruments, as well as a better experience for the archive user.
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              The Design and Operation of The Keck Observatory Archive

              The Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) and the W. M. Keck Observatory (WMKO) operate an archive for the Keck Observatory. At the end of 2013, KOA completed the ingestion of data from all eight active observatory instruments. KOA will continue to ingest all newly obtained observations, at an anticipated volume of 4 TB per year. The data are transmitted electronically from WMKO to IPAC for storage and curation. Access to data is governed by a data use policy, and approximately two-thirds of the data in the archive are public.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                2016-08-08
                Article
                1608.02642

                http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

                Custom metadata
                16 pages, 8 figures, 5 tables. SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation, Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy
                astro-ph.IM

                Instrumentation & Methods for astrophysics

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