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Ed. Note: The Sources of FITS Information is revised from 
time to time.  This version was last updated on 
January 23, 1996.  The current version is available on 
several newsgroups.  Also, check the following URL
for information: 

This document was provided with permission from the
FITS Support Office, which is sponsored by the Office of 
Space Science at NASA Headquarters and operated under the 
guidance of the Astrophysics Data Facility at the NASA 
Goddard Space Flight Center.


Archive-name: astronomy/fits/info-sources
Last-modified: 1996/01/23

		Sources of FITS Information 


This material on sources of Flexible Image Transport System (FITS)
information is posted and updated periodically by the FITS Support
Office at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).  It discusses
where general FITS information, including some answers to frequently
asked questions, can be found, and provides sources for detailed
information on FITS software and documentation. 


FITS Support Office

The FITS Support Office maintains a library of FITS information
accessible from or  The material available includes

o	"Definition of FITS," a codification of FITS for the 
	NASA/Science Office of Standards and Technology (NOST),
	available in LaTeX, uncompressed PostScript, compressed 
	PostScript and (usually) ASCII text
	(The ASCII text version may not be available for a short 
	while after the announcement of a new version.)

o	"A User's Guide to FITS", published by the FITS Support Office, 
	in LaTex, and compressed and uncompressed PostScript 

o	Revisions to version 1.0 of the "Definition of FITS" covering the
	specification of units, that were incorporated 
	into version 1.1 (text)

o	A current list of the extension type (structure) names
	registered with the International Astronomical Union FITS
	Working Group (IAUFWG) (text)

o	Rules for physical blocking on various media adopted by
	the IAUFWG (text)  

In the same directory, but accessible directly via is the FITS
Basics and Information that used to be regularly posted to
sci.astro.fits and under the heading of FITS Basics
and Information.  It continues to be revised to reflect current FITS
developments.  It contains the following material: 

o	An overview of FITS

o	A list of FITS documents  

o	A list of software packages that support FITS, 
		including FITS-image converters for various platforms

o	A list of on-line FITS resources

o	A description of the FITS Support Office 

The hypertext version provides links to many of the documents, 
software, and network locations listed.  The text version provides 
information on how to obtain much of this material.

There is also a hypertext version of the List of Registered 

Links from the Web page and subdirectories of the ftp directory 
o	Software developed by the FITS Support Office.  

o	Error test files, primary HDUs useful for testing the ability
	of software designed to read FITS files to cope with files that 
	have errors or are non-standard.  These files should be 
	downloaded in binary form.

Printed copies of the material in the FITS directory can be obtained
from the Coordinated Request and User Support Office (CRUSO):  

(Postal) Coordinated Request and User Support Office
         Code 633
	 National Space Science Data Center
	 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
	 Greenbelt MD 20771 USA

(Electronic mail) [email protected]

(Telephone)  +1-301-286-6695 8:00 A. M. - 4:30 P.M. U. S. Eastern Time
(-0500 from the last Sunday in October through the first Saturday in
April; -0400 the remainder of the year) 
	When no one is available, messages can be left on voice mail. 
(FAX) +1-301-286-1635


National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)

A FITS Archive can be found at URL or 
at, located at NRAO.  This machine supports a
WAIS server named nrao-fits which has an index of all of the
FITS-related text files in the archive; the file nrao-fits.src is
available at and at  

Some of the more noteworthy materials in this archive are 

o	Drafts of proposed additions to the FITS standard and other 
	drafts that may in the future be formally proposed

o	Text of any detailed proposals currently being discussed by 
	the FITS committees

o	A collection of documents on World Coordinate Systems, 
	including the current draft proposal

o	Conventions specific to particular projects or disciplines

o	Software packages for display of FITS images on Windows, 
	Macintosh, and Unix/X-Windows

o 	Other code for various environments and Usenet postings about

o	Sample data and special test files designed to measure the
        ability of a FITS reader to handle a wide variety of FITS files

o	Archives of traffic on FITS-related newsgroups and exploders


	The NASA/Goddard High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive
Research Center (HEASARC) Web server at 
and the anonymous ftp access through provide FITS material.  HEASARC
has developed a the FITSIO package of software routines for easily
reading and writing FITS files, in FORtRAN with a C interface
available, portable to a wide variety of machines.  There is also the
FTOOLS collection of software tools and the VERIFITS FITS conformance
verifier. HEASARC software is available directly through or .

The HEASARC server also provides information from the OGIP/HEASARC
FITS Working Group, (HFWG) the internal legislative body on
FITS-related matters within the Office of Guest Investigator Programs
(OGIP) at NASA/GSFC, at or . The HFWG has developed a
number of FITS conventions that are more specific than the
requirements of the FITS standards. Proposed conventions are
publicized to the FITS community as a whole, with the goal of
collaborative development of a set of conventions that will be
accepted throughout the community as well as within OGIP/HEASARC. 


Direct questions about this posting to 
				Barry M. Schlesinger
				FITS Support Office

Electronic mail: [email protected]
Telephone:       +1-301-441-4205		

The FITS Support Office is operated under the guidance of the
NASA/GSFC Astrophysics Data Facility.