News from the Multi-mission Archive at Space Telescope

Rachel Somerville, somer@stsci.edu, for the MAST team


MAST User Survey and Users Group Meeting

In order to get feedback from our users, MAST conducted a user survey in May–June 2009. We thank everyone who answered the survey. The results can be viewed here, and our responses to some of the comments and questions are here.

We also held our annual MAST Users Group (MUG) meeting, on July 9, 2009. The current MUG members are Steve Howell (chair), Mike Crenshaw, Duilia de Mello, Casey Papovich, Evgenya Shkolnik, and Ben Williams. We thank all the MUG members for their service, helpful insights, and suggestions. The presentations from the MUG meeting and the MUG report are available here.


MAST bibliographic search

MAST has a new tool enabling users to search for papers that have made use of MAST data. You can modify your search based on mission, author, title words, journal, or year. The MAST-wide search form is available here. A more Hubble-specific version, which also allows you to narrow your search to specific instruments, is available here.


Kepler data to be hosted at MAST

Kepler, a NASA strategic mission, was launched into an Earth-trailing heliocentric orbit on March 6, 2009. It will stare at a 105-square-degree region of the sky in the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra. The goal of the mission is to obtain precise, long-term light curves of up to 100,000 cool stars and to search for periodic signatures of transits of planets as small as the Earth. A secondary objective is to study rapid oscillations of the target stars in order to determine their ages, radii, and chemical compositions. A general overview of the mission and more details about the scientific objectives can be found at the Kepler mission website. The post-commissioning phase of the mission began on May 12, 2009. Since then, Kepler has monitored the same field in the sky almost continuously and will continue to do so for most of its nominal lifetime of three-and-a-half years.

MAST is very pleased to be hosting the data from the Kepler mission, and to announce that the MAST Kepler website is now public. Users may query the 6-million-row Kepler target search form to select potential targets known to be on the CCD detector. They can also query the Kepler input catalog to search through 13 million objects in or near the Kepler field of view.

During its commissioning phase, Kepler monitored over 50,000 stars brighter than V = 13.8 magnitudes as calibration targets. The Kepler science team plans to release the resulting light curves of several thousands of these stars in fall 2009. As the mission proceeds, the team will periodically “deselect” stars as exoplanetary monitoring candidates. As it does so, MAST will provide access to lists of targets and/or data. These data will be announced on the MAST Kepler webpage as they become available. In addition, data for these stars will become available for download through the MAST Kepler data search and retrieval page.