Getting Started with Hera

Before using Hera for the first time you should read the description on the Hera home page to get an overview of the capabilities of Hera and the features of the 3 main Hera interfaces. Then, if you are a qualified student or professional researcher and would like to use Hera to analyze astronomical data, then follow these steps to get started:
  1. Download and install the small Fv FITS file viewer and editor program on your computer (version 4.4 or higher). On Unix and Mac OS-X machines, make sure that it can be started by typing "fv" in a command window, either by putting the directory path to the fv executable into your PATH environment variable, or by creating an alias for fv to the full pathname.

  2. Verify that fv is able to connection to the Hera servers on Unix machines, by entering the command
    fv -testrun
    in a command window. Alternately, on Windows PCs, start up the fv program and then click on the "Connect to Hera..." menu item in the fv desktop window. If this connection test fails, it often means that a firewall on your computer system is blocking the network traffic to or from the Hera servers. Contact your network administrator and/or send email to the Hera developers (see below) for assistance.

  3. Practice using the Standard Hera interface by entering the command "fv -hera" in a terminal window (or start up Fv and then click on the "Connect to Hera..." link in the Fv desk top window). This should bring up a Hera GUI window where you can create a new Hera User ID that can be used to experiment with the various features of the Hera GUI.

  4. Next, execute a few analysis tasks using the Runtask Hera interface to run any single HEASOFT or CIAO task (and soon any XMM SAS task) remotely from a command line window. (Currently, this interface is not available from Windows PCs). Here are some example commands:
    • fv -r fhelp futils     (to get a list of the FITS utility tasks)
    • fv -r fhelp fcopy    (to get help on the fcopy task)
    • fv -r fcopy myfile.fits out.fits    (to make a copy of a FITS file)
    • fv -r fcopy    (same as above, except it will prompt you for parameters)

  5. If you are interested in analyzing any of the data in HEASARC's high energy astrophysics data archive, follow the procedure on the Anonymous Hera interface web page to immediately analyze any single data set selected from the Browse database. This requires the one-time process of configuring your web browser to use Fv as a helper application.

Please send any problems, comments or suggestions regarding Hera using the 'Mail' button in the lower right corner of the Hera GUI window, or by sending email to heradev "at" athena.gsfc.nasa.gov.