Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Space Telescope - European Coordinating Facility (ST-ECF) is an institution which provides a number of support and service functions primarily for European observers of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (HST). It was established in 1984 by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), and is located at the ESO headquarters in Garching bei München, Germany.
The ST-ECF provides detailed technical information about the HST and its science instruments, supports European astronomers who are preparing HST observing proposals and coordinates the development of computer software tuned to the specific data analysis needs of HST users. In all these duties the ST-ECF staff maintain close contacts with the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, which is charged with the scientific operation of the HST observatory.
The ST-ECF is headed by Robert (Bob) Fosbury. Deputy is Jeremy Walsh.
User Support
Founded before the era of the internet and widely available computer resources the ST-ECF was founded with user support for European astronomers as the main goal. When internet connections across the Atlantic and powerful computers became the mainstay, the focus of the organization shifted towards data product and dedicated instrument science support.
Instrument science
The ST-ECF is actively engaged in software development in many areas related to HST data calibration, analysis and visualisation for especially the Hubble instruments Faint Object Spectrograph, STIS, and Advanced Camera for Surveys. For example:
·         aXe - Slitless Spectroscopy Extraction software
·         SLIM: A Slitless Spectroscopy Simulator for ACS
·         The STIS Spectrograph calibration enhancement project (done by the Instrument Physical Modeling Group)
·         NICMOSlook and Calnic C
·         Lucy-Hook coaddition method
Science archive
Together with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) the ST-ECF operates and maintains the ESO/ST-ECF Science Archive Facility from where all the scientific data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope can be accessed by the public. In collaboration with the HST archives at the STScI and the CADC[disambiguation needed  ] data products and access methods are continuously improved to assure the best possible science data for astronomers around the world. Currently this includes work on the Virtual Observatory, On-The-Fly Calibration, and B Associations. Earlier work pioneered projects like Astrovirtel and Astrophysical Virtual Observatory.
Public outreach and education
One of the groups at the ST-ECF is the Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre (HEIC), which, since 1999, has been the leading Hubble outreach activities group in Europe. HEIC's mission statement is to fulfill the Hubble Space Telescope outreach and education tasks for the European Space Agency.
Over the past few years HEIC has become a very distinguished communication office of experts using the newest software and techniques. The European Hubble office has produced large amounts of astronomical material - press releases, images, brochures, web pages, books etc. - suitable both for educational purposes and wider public consumption. HEIC provides a well-assorted archive that is publicly available on its web page.
The work is centred on the production of news and photo releases that highlight interesting Hubble science results and images. These are often European in origin, and so not only increase the awareness of European Space Agency’s Hubble share (15%), but the contribution of European scientists to the observatory. Furthermore the group produces video releases, innovative educational material, CD-ROMs, brochures, posters, as well as DVDs and museum information kiosks, and much more.
The Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre is headed by the science communication specialist Lars Lindberg Christensen and the leading graphic designer is Martin Kornmesser.
All publicised material can be found on spacetelescope.org. The group is home to the FITS Liberator project and the "Hubble - 15 Years of Discovery" project that also led to the book Hubble - 15 Years of Discovery.
External links
·         STECF website
·         ESO/ST-ECF Science Archive
This page was last modified on 20 July 2011 at 06:17.