Users would like to use WWT to view their own images, and be able to share them with their friends. Some of this is possible already, and more work is happening at our end to make it easier to do so. This post is about a new metadata format out there that will help you get your data ready for WWT.

Let's start with images of small regions of the sky, which Team WWT refers to as Studies. (Think of a microscope used to study the details of a leaf, or of a space telescope used to study a planetary nebula.) Now, images are beautiful objects, but are only useful if we know what they are images of. That is why it is important for images to have metadata - additional information about the image. In the case of pictures of astronomical objects, metadata tells us where the image is on the sky (location, size, orientation), what wavelength it's in, who took it, what telescope was used, etc.

There are many ways in which metadata can be stored. Astronomers traditionally use a format (or a family of them) called FITS, for example.

Another format that we hope gets increasing use in future comes from the astronomy visualization and outreach community. It's called the Astronomy Visualization Metadata (AVM) standard, and allows you to store such metadata within a tiff image. You can load an AVM-tagged image directly into WWT (Explore->Open->Image). The upcoming WWT utilities to process and share studies also read AVM tags.

VAMP logo

The VAMP site can be found here and its online tagging tool here. It can also be used within Photoshop.


Originally posted by dinos. Migrated to new blog location by derickc.