sci16007 — Announcement
Ready to explore ESASky?
9 June 2016
With the European Hubble Archive (eHST) now fully integrated with the other ESA astronomy archives at the ESAC Science Data Centre in Madrid (see sci15010), Hubble users can unleash their scientific curiosity and start exploring their favourite targets from gamma rays to radio wavelengths with a simple click, using ESASky.
ESASky is a recently developed web application that allows you to compare and download public observations from ESA astronomy missions and to study an object in different wavelengths. ESASky does not replace the mission archives — rather it integrates them by projecting the footprints of the observation onto the sky. Using ESASky, these footprints and the corresponding observations can be overlaid on any existing “all-sky” progressive background image derived from ground or space observations. These all-sky maps show more and more detail as you zoom in. Many backgrounds are available on ESASky, including INTEGRAL (Gamma-ray and hard X-ray), XMM-Newton (X-ray, UV and optical), SUZUAKU (X-ray), HST (UV, optical and near-IR), Hipparcos (optical), ISO (mid-IR), Herschel (Far-IR and submillimetre wavelengths) and Planck (Far-IR and submillimetre wavelengths).
The footprints are connected with the best quality science-ready data that ESA archive curators have identified for that portion of the sky in the underlying archives. This makes it easy to explore how the objects relevant to your research would appear at other wavelengths, without having to first learn how to use those specific archives.
If any of the multi-wavelength data are relevant to your research, provided links allow you to easily download the full suite of observations for those objects from the specific mission archives — including the eHST. In this way, ESASky helps lower the threshold to enter those archives and makes it easier to make the first steps into them.
The current version of ESASky offers imaging data from all ESA astronomy missions, and access to data from other space agencies is continuously being added — for example, the Japanese SUZAKU mission is already included.
Besides the images themselves, ESASky also makes it easy to visualise and download a multitude of source catalogues derived from ESA astronomy missions. These include Hipparcos-2 and Tycho-2, the INTEGRAL General Reference Catalogue, catalogues from XMM-Newton and from Planck, as well as the Hubble Source Catalog. Also the Gaia First Release Catalogue will be made available through ESASky in summer 2016 and eventually the Hubble Catalogue of Variables will be included too. The contents of all these catalogues can be directly compared to one another and the sources can be interactively displayed on top of images from any ESA missions or any of the other all-sky backgrounds.
Images and source catalogues are not the only data available through ESASky: Version 2.0 of the tool, to be released later this year, will also collect and display spectral data. Time-domain studies will soon be possible as well, since ESASky will let you easily slide through images of the same region of sky taken at different times. For updates, you can register here.
Guido De Marchi
ESA Archives Head Scientist
ESA HST Project Scientist, STScI
About the Announcement