spectrum format

Robin Leadbeater

Since in principle it is possible to put any data into a fits file there is no fundamental reason why any spectrum profile could not use the fits format. The big advantage is that all the observation and reduction details can then be contained within the fits header provided apropriate keywords are included. The BeSS standard is a good starting point of course but perhaps the header could be generalised and extended to include further useful keywords/flags etc, for example to indicate things like the type of object, level of data reduction etc.   Provided the keywords required by BeSS were still present, compatibility with BeSS (or potentially any other database which used a subset of the included keywords) could be maintained (Note also that the BesS database system actually rewrites parts of the the header, ignoring some keywords and filling in others based on the information in the submitted header ie  the BeSS input standard header is slightly different from what is held in the database)  The “BeSS standard header” generated by ISIS software for example has already been modified in this way with added keywords for the observatory coordinates for example to make it suitable for the simple but more general  database (really just lists of spectra currently) already being developed  by ARAS.