WCSTools Publications presented at the Eighth Annual Conference on Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems (ADASS 98) in Urbana, Illinois in November 1998, published in Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems VIII, A.S.P. Conference Series, 1999, Dave Mehringer, Ray Plante, Doug Roberts, eds., p. 498

WCSTools: An Image Astrometry Toolkit

by Douglas J. Mink
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Very few people want to deal with the details of positional astronomy, but many astronomers want to know precise positions of objects in the sky. New instruments, such as fiber-fed spectrographs, require more precise positions than are available for many objects. WCSTools provides programs and subroutines which allow both scientists and programmers to access astrometric information using the world coordinate system (WCS) of an image. WCSTools programs translate between image and sky coordinates, list catalog stars in the area covered by an image, find stars in an image and list them with their sky positions, and fit a WCS by matching image objects to catalogs. SAOimage, SkyCat, and SAOtng use WCSTools subroutines to display sky coordinates while browsing an image. The software reads and writes FITS and IRAF .imh images and deals easily with Space Telescope and Digitized Sky Survey FITS images. The proposed FITS WCS standard is being tracked, and interim formats are being supported.

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