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Retrieving Production Data from the RXTE-GOF Online Area
Recipes from the RXTE Cook Book

The Online Data Area

Starting October 1st, 1999, the RXTE GOF began to make fully-processed production data available online to Guest Observers. This online service replaced the previous system of sending RXTE data tapes to GOs by postal mail.

The online RXTE FITS data are packaged by obsID, and PGP-encrypted to preserve their security. The PGP key is identical to that provided to you by the RXTE SOF when your observations were scheduled.

Automatic Email Notification

When we accept each data delivery from the processing pipeline at XSDC, we create the PGP-encrypted tarfiles, and then generate Email notifications for the relevant RXTE PIs. In each message we list all the obsIDs recently processed and received under a given proposal. Thus, a PI will receive a maximum of one Email message per day per proposal, which in most cases should prove to be a minimal amount of Email traffic.

If you're a very successful RXTE proposer, or you're involved in a daily monitoring campaign, you may find that you're receiving more Email from us than you'd like. In this case, you may choose to opt out of our automatic notification scheme: just send us Email at xtehelp@athena.gsfc.nasa.gov enclosing your name and the proposal IDs that you wish us to remove from the automatic notification script, and we'll implement the change. However, note that you'll then assume responsibility for checking the online data area regularly for your data.

Downloading and Decrypting Data

  1. Point your Web browser at https://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/FTP/xte/data/archive/PGPData , or initiate an anonymous FTP session to heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov and move to /xte/data/archive/PGPData. The directory you're in will contain filenames in the format:
    etc. Identify the files you need, and copy them back to your home machine using a Save-Link-As command in your browser, or the FTP `get' or `mget' commands. Don't forget these are binary data.

  2. Decrypt each file, using the PGP key provided by the SOF in your original Email scheduling notification.

    • You can use the free software GPG (GNU's version of PGP) to unencrypt your data - see our recipe Obtaining and Using PGP/GPG.

    • If you have mislaid your PGP key, please Email us

  3. Unpack the data, e.g.
              tar xvf 40066-01-01-00.tar
    	  ( ... continue with other obsIDs ... )
    This will create a top-level proposal directory in your working space, e.g. P40066, containing one subdirectory per obsID.

Creating an Appropriate FMI

XDF, and a number of the data analysis recipes and scripts, assume a certain hierarchical directory structure for RXTE FITS data, with obsIDs grouped in a single proposal directory with a FITS Master Index file. As our online delivery system treats data on an obsID by obsID basis, you'll need to reconstruct the relevant Master Index files for the obsIDs you've obtained so far. To do this:

  • Enter your proposal directory and copy up an FMI file from any subdirectory to the main level, e.g.:
              cd P40066
              cp 40066-01-01-00/FMI .

    Update this FMI file to cover all obsIDs in the directory:

              recofmi overwrite=yes .
    (don't miss the "dots" at the end of the above two commands; these are the second argument in each case).

    Note that if you later add new obsIDs (subdirectories) to your main directory, you'll need to rerun the 'recofmi' step to update your FMI, so XDF and other software will recognize the new data.

Then proceed with RXTE data analysis as usual, as covered by our userguides and recipes. Please direct any questions about our Online Data Area to xtehelp@athena.gsfc.nasa.gov

If you have a question about RXTE, please send email to one of our help desks.

This page is maintained by the RXTE GOF and was last modified on Wednesday, 24-Aug-2022 11:10:30 EDT.