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ROSAT Guest Observer Facility

Information on Accessing the ROSAT Data Archive at GSFC

Public Data access using Browse

The ROSAT PUBLIC DATA lists can be accessed as a searchable data table using the HEASARC BROWSE interface. The ROSAT PUBLIC data table is called ROSPUBLIC in BROWSE. Users can:

Use the HEASARC BROWSE WEB interface BROWSE to BROWSE the ROSPUBLIC database.

To do this:

  1. connect to the URL
  2. click on the ROSAT link
  3. Select Archival Data (ROSPUBLIC) from the list of ROSAT Catalogs.
  4. enter the name of the source or its coordinates and submit the search; you can also search on table parameters like exposure time or sequence identification if you desire.

A list of publically available sequences which have been archived in the US Data Archive will be returned. You can then download selected data sets and data products by following the BROWSE instructions.

Public data via anonymous ftp from

Users can also access public ROSAT data directly from the anonymous ftp account.

Accessing the ROSAT Data Archives at MPE and Leicester

Historical Notes

Release of Data to the ROSAT DATA ARCHIVES

ROSAT pointed-phase data had a proprietary period of 1 year after the completed dataset has been received by the principal investigator. After that, the data were released into the ROSAT Data Archives (RDA). The ROSAT Data Archives are located at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in the US, at the Max-Planck-Institute fuer Extraterrestrische Physik (MPE) in Germany, and at Leicester University in the UK. The US ROSAT Data Processing Center was responsible for the release of data obtained by US PI's, while MPE was responsible for the release of data obtained by European PI's. Although every effort is made to have all public data available at each archive site, inevitable delays in data exchange between the US and Germany meant that European data often appeared first in the MPE archives, while US data generally appeared first in the GSFC archive.

A Brief Word about ROSAT Data Formats

Until the start of REV2 processing in 1994, ROSAT data produced at the US Data Center at GSFC and data processed at the German Data Center at MPE were in different formats. That is to say, the files output used FITS as the basic file structure, but the details of the file structure differed depending on where the data were processed. These differences came about naturally as a result of the different analysis tools used on either side of the Atlantic: primarily MIDAS/EXSAS in Europe, and primarily IRAF/PROS in the US. As these data became public, they were released into the ROSAT Data Archives, with the result that tools which might work on one form of archived data might not work on the other form. This sometimes caused inconvenience to archive users who, for example, might want to compare US and German observations of the same object.

With the start of REV2 processing, data were produced at the US and German data centers using a common data format, called the "Rationalized Data File" format. The RDF format uses FITS as the basic file structure, while specifying the details using approved multi-mission data structures and keywords. The REV2 data in RDF format represents the final ROSAT archive product. Eventually, all ROSAT data in all ROSAT Data archives will be in RDF format. That is to say, data previously released will be re-processed into the RDF format, and re-released to the archive, and the pre-RDF versions will be removed from the archives.

For more Information

Contact the ROSAT help desk via the Feedback form.

Page Author: Dr. Mike Corcoran
Last modified 2001-10-25

Please use the Feedback link if you have questions on ROSAT.

This file was last modified on Wednesday, 11-May-2011 14:26:52 EDT

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