The FITS Support Office
What is FITS?
- The standard data format used in astronomy
- Stands for 'Flexible Image Transport System'
- Endorsed by NASA and the International Astronomical Union
- Much more than just another image format (such as JPEG or GIF)
- Used for the transport, analysis, and archival storage of scientific data sets
- Multi-dimensional arrays: 1D spectra, 2D images, 3D+ data cubes
- Tables containing rows and columns of information
- Header keywords provide descriptive information about the data
- See also the descriptions on the
of Congress Web sites.
[28-July-2016] The IAU FITS Working Group issued
a draft of a new version of the FITS Standard document
that includes a description of eight new features that have been officially added to the FITS format since
the publication of the previous version. This includes World Coordinate keywords for the definition of time coordinates, support
for long string keyword values that are continued over multiple keyword records, file checksum keywords,
and standards for data compression of images and tables.
If you would like to participate in future
discussions about possible other new enhancements to the FITS format please
subscribe to the fitsbits email exploder.
 The Vatican Library has adopted the FITS data format for the long-term digital
preservation of the books, manuscripts, and other objects in its vast collection.
An overview of some of the technical details of this ambitious project is availble on the
Information about FITS
Last revised: Friday, 29-Jul-2016 14:10:10 EDT
Contact us: fits @ fits.gsfc.nasa.gov
Hosted by: The
(High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center)
Responsible NASA representative: Dr. Thomas A. McGlynn
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