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SkyView in a Jar

--- Version 2.0 with GIFs, JPEGs, catalogs, grid overlays and more released March 27, 2006 ---
(Contains updates for DSS survey descriptions, see below)

Today you can run SkyView on your own machine! You can get SkyView's capabilities without going through SkyView's Web site with the new SkyView-in-a-Jar tool.

Just download one file, the SkyView JAR, to get started. The SkyView JAR is executable so that you can use it immediately, e.g., try

    java -jar skyview.jar survey=dss position=3c273 
after you download the file. This should generate a file output.fits with the an image of 3C273 from the Digitized Sky Survey. [It may also leave a few other files that help speed up subsequent requests in the same region. See caching in the user's guide.]

You will need a recent version of Java (called V1.5 or 5 depending upon whether whether you are talking about the development environment or language) or higher which is available for all major platforms. For Linux, Windows and SPARC platforms you can find the latest release through the Sun Java web pages . A MacOS/X version and installation instructions are also available.

This application supports most of the functionality of the SkyView Web pages for generating files. It includes almost all of the surveys available through the web. You can generate FITS and graphic images. The program lets you treat your own files as surveys and you can add other surveys linking tp external data you might be interested in. It is especially easy to add a survey when the data is available through the Virtual Observatory Simple Image Access protocol.

Features of this new Java application include:

  • Grids overlays (new in 2.0)
  • Catalogs from HEASARC, VizieR, NED and other VO sources (new in 2.0)
  • Use ImageJ to immediately view images (new in 2.0)
  • ST ScI changed the behavior of their DSS Web services in March 2006. Updated XML survey descriptions -- including two new surveys -- are provided with the 2.0 JAR. Older JAR's with the old survey descriptions should continue to work for the DSS2 surveys, but as of 3/24, the new surveys files will be needed to access the DSS survey data, now available as the DSS1R and DSS1B surveys.
  • Outputs in FITS and several graphic image formats including JPEG, GIF, BMP and TIFF. (new with release 1.9).
  • New high order resamplers including Lanczos and Spline resampling which retain more information when using well-sampled images.
  • An efficient exact-area flux-conserving reampler replacing the extremely cumbersome and bug-ridden triangular-decomposition sampler.
  • Several de-edging algorithms to match image backgrounds when mosaics are made from images with disparate backgrounds.
  • Better algorithms for the selection of which survey image to resample. This helps eliminate small unsampled regions that sometimes occured in the old SkyView implementation.
  • Smaller memory footprint which enables very large images to be generated. (Though you may need to become familiar with the -mx option of the java command.)
  • Ability for users to easily add in their own surveys.
  • Easy linkage to datasets described by the Virtual Obsevatory Simple Image Access protocol -- including the latest release of the SDSS survey which hasn't yet made it into SkyView's standard Web interface!
  • The program is easily extensible and designed so that users can plug in their own samplers, projections, coordinate systems, mosaickers, ... to deal with any special requirements they might have.
  • Users needn't share the limited resources of the SkyView Web server. The program can run on many clients simultaneously.
  • Java source files included in the JAR for users who wish to modify or extend functionality.

A User's Guide is available in Word and HTML. The JavaDocs for the Java classes are also available.

Please contact Tom McGlynn or Laura McDonald if you have questions or comments about this package.