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Paper: The MAST API: Accessing Space Telescope Data Programmatically
Volume: 522, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XXVII
Page: 97
Authors: Brasseur, C.; Rogers, T.; Donaldson, T.; Tollerud, E.; Smith, A.; Phillip, C.
Abstract: Best known as the archive for the Hubble Space Telescope, the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST) is a multimission data center which provides public access to data from a wide range of astronomical missions. Throughout its history MAST has provided a variety of interfaces which enable both interactive and programmatic discovery of archive data. In this paper we will present the web service API (Application Programming Interface) for MAST, and associated Astroquery Python module. The MAST web service API aims to facilitate access to MAST data by providing a consistent, predictable, and flexible interface, that can be accessed using any language with the capability to send/receive HTTPS requests. The associated Astroquery API provides an intuitive streamlined interface for Python users that removes the need to craft and parse HTTPS requests/responses. In this paper we will discuss the method for building and executing MAST queries, and parsing the output, both in the web service API and using Astroquery. We will give examples of common API queries, and discuss integrating MAST API queries into an analytic workflow. We will finish with a discussion of the future of the MAST API.
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