Facilities and Instruments Description framework

Existing Initiatives

For specific scientific domains:

Initiatives gathered at VOParis Data center - Baptiste Cecconi et col.


Initiative from VESPA for planetology - Baptiste Cecconi et col.

VESPA observatory facility database: https://voparis-confluence.obspm.fr/display/VES/Observatory+Facility+Database

span dates needed...

WISeREP (Weizmann Interactive Supernova data REPository) - Yaron et Gal-Yam ( 2012PASP..124..668Y):


Database for supernovae providing (among other things) a list of 110 telescopes with latitude/longitude, elevation, diameter, URL and location.

Seems to be updated by the community.


For agencies:

ESO Telescope Bibliography (TelBib) - (Head librarian: Uta Grothkopf):


Purpose: Track the publications that use data from ESO’s telescopes and instruments.

A publication is linked to diverse program ID (registry of a set of observation with a defined Program ID nomenclature).

The program ID gives a series of dasetID = observing runs

1 progID for many nights of observations.

1 progID for diverse instruments (for instance UVES and PIONNEER)

A proposal is more general and gives the purpose of different observations.

List of NOAO (National Optical Astronomy Observatory) facilities for 2017A :


The MPC observatories list ("official" observatory codes):

http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/iau/lists/ObsCodes.html, on the VO as ivo://org.gavo.dc/obscode/q/query

NASA missions A-Z: http://www.nasa.gov/missions

ESA missions: http://www.esa.int/ESA/Our_Missions

For publications:

American Astronomical Society (AAS) journal (chief scientific editor: Greg Schwarz - with Gus Muench):

"The AAS created a set of facility keywords about 12 years ago to help librarians and agencies track which facilities where used. The list has grown in that time and now contains almost 500 facilities. You can view them via this interface:


It does get used by a few authors (~10-20%) but it is not mandatory. It also only applies to the AAS Journals so its adoption is not widespread. Another issues that might be important to you is that we do not have a vocabulary for instruments as we thought that would be too hard to track and monitor. The facility keyword is controlled but we let the author put in whatever they want for the instrument.

Plans for the future are 1) to have the Unified Astronomy Thesaurus (UAT) folks integrate the list into the Thesaurus and 2) a pilot program to semantically identify facilities in AAS articles during production and then have the author approve/change the results during proofs. We are hopeful that this last option will greatly increase the tagging of facilities in our journals."

Tag examples :
\facilities{KAIT}, \facility{Magellan:Baade (LDSS2 imaging spectrograph, Boller \& Chivens spectrograph)}, \facility{Magellan:Clay (LDSS2 imaging spectrograph)}, \facility{Swope (SITe No. 3 imaging CCD, NICMOS3 array)}, \facility{Du Pont (Tek No. 5 imaging CCD, WFCCD)}, \facility{Mayall (MOSAIC-1 wide-field camera)}, \facility{MMT (Blue Channel spectrograph)}, \facility{FLWO:1.5m (FAST)}, \facility{Shane (Kast Double spectrograph)}, \facility{Keck:I (LRIS)}, \facility{Keck:II (ESI)}

Keywords are given in the online table but the whole expression in {} is not controlled.

For A&A, relationship with the CDS to publish data but nothing about how facilities must be cited:

"Whenever the primary observational data (e.g., the spectrograms that were used for determining radial velocities or redshifts) are archived at a facility such as ESO or HST and therefore publicly available, there is no need for authors to provide them to A&A; in this case, we'll archive only the reduced data (i.e., the radial velocities and the reduced photometric data in the examples given above). When primary data presented in articles are not publicly available through an institutional archive (e.g., the IRAM spectroscopic data), the calibrated data will be archived at the CDS." from http://www.aanda.org/author-information

Other initiatives

Applications for telescope time

JKT's list of available optical/infrared telescopes to UK astronomers (personal page of John Taylor?):


"This is a list and basic details of the ground-based optical and infrared observing facilities which accept applications for telescope time from UK astronomers."

The classification is oriented to select instruments for dedicated observation. It provides the physical features : spectral coverage , spatial resolution , field of view and classify all instruments following the site-telescope-instrument hierarchy.

This is flat html page with multiple tables. Search can be achieved only via text search. Names of instruments should be known in advance .

According to type of telescopes and spectral domains:

On Wikipedia : all kinds of lists based on spectral regime (optical, radio, infrared, X-Ray, etc.)

lists of optical telescopes, solar telescopes, radio telescopes, large optical telescopes, space telescopes, largest optical telescopes in the continental United States, infrared telescopes, refracting telescopes, largest optical refracting telescopes, largest infrared telescopes, astronomical observatories, X-ray space telescopes, proposed space observatories...

Many different initiatives for registering telescope names ...

For specific usage of filters:

SVO provider filters : http://svo2.cab.inta-csic.es/theory/fps3/

A search by list of facilities (54) or instruments is available. The result gives the list of all filters by instrument with lambda_eff_ and W_eff_ notably.

Archive bound instrument lists:

MAST (The Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes):


MAST is a NASA funded project to support and provide to the astronomical community a variety of astronomical data archives, with the primary focus on scientifically related data sets in the optical, ultraviolet, and near-infrared parts of the spectrum.) List of missions.

The archive stores instrument information at 2 levels : general list of instruments and observation search with detailed instrumental information ( band coverage, spatial resolution , ... )

Other archives : GATOR/ IRSA etc.

Topic revision: r4 - 2017-04-27 - EmmanuellePerret
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