I. Introduction

3. Distribution Mode for WISE Data Products

Most WISE science data products are distributed to the community via the online and computer-compatible services of the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive (IRSA) . Moving object tracklet information is available from the services of the IAU Minor Planet Center.

a. On-Line Access

  1. Source Catalog and Other Databases

    The WISE archive includes the Source Catalog extracted from the coadded Atlas Images. In addition, the WISE archive contains the Single-exposures Source Database, that provides positions and photometry measured from the individual WISE exposures, and all of the metadata tables associated with the Atlas and Single-exposure images and source tables. Logical queries on the WISE Preliminary Release Catalog and Tables can be made via the IRSA/Gator on-line query engine. Gator enables searches on any Catalog attribute, such as position, brightness, color, quality flags, etc., or combinations thereof. The Gator interface allows queries on any metadata table maintained in the archive. Queries may be submitted using either a simple "Query-By-Table" form or with user-customizable SQL input. For example, one common query type is to search for all sources within a specified sky region, which can be most efficiently achieved using the query panel with spatial constraints.

    Note: Gator is not designed to support downloads of the WISE Catalogs over a large section of the sky. Specifically, if the return data volume exceeds 2Gb, Gator will truncate the query. So be cautious when your return table is close to 2Gb in size. See Section I.3.b below for Catalog bulk download instructions.

  2. Images

    The image data include coadded Atlas images and Single-exposure (level 1b) images. FITS format images, including science intensity images, depth-of-coverage (Bit-mask for level 1b data) and uncertainty maps, may be viewed and retrieved using the IRSA WISE Preliminary Release Image Services. This Web interface enables selection, display and retrieval of any or all Single-exposure images and Atlas Images based on position and time (in the case of the Single-exposure images) of observation using the information stored in the image metadata. The returned images will be in the pixel format and projection of the stored images. This image service shall allow both interactive and batch requests.

    The WISE/IRSA archive allows general users to view and retrieve images in any of the four WISE bands with any specified center and any size up to 2 by 2 sq. degrees for Atlas images and full scan size for level 1b images.

  3. WISE Moving Object Tracklets

    WISE Moving Object Tracklet information can be accessed using the IAU Minor Planet Center MPCCAT-OBS Observation Archive. To extract observations for a particular object that were reported to the MPC by the WISE Moving Object Pipeline System, use MPC-OBS specifying the WISE observer code, C51. Note that newly discovered objects of particular interest, like NEOS, comets, and Centaurs, were issued Minor Planet Electronic Circulars (MPECS).

    Detailed instructions for retrieving Moving Object Tracklet information are given in IV.4.b.iii.

  4. Atlas Tile Look-up Service

    The WISE archive also provides a tool to determine if a position or object is within the nominal boundaries of any Atlas Tile in the Preliminary Release area. This service is available via WISE Preliminary Data Release Tile Lookup Tool.

b. Electronic Access to the Full Source Catalog

The WISE Preliminary Release Source Catalog is available in compressed bzip2 ASCII form for bulk download at


The Source Catalog is divided into 50 separate compressed files, each containing a subset of source records that are nearly randomly distributed on the sky. Wget scripts are available at the above URL to download all of the Catalog parts. The tables have been formatted in a simple bar-delimited manner consistent with convenient loading into a database server. The column order and contents of the columns are as described in Section II.2.a.

The individual download parts are not organized by spatial region, so you will need to download and assemble all of the parts to recreate the full Catalog.

You will need approximately 100 GB of disk space to download all of the compressed tables, and an additional 350 GB if you uncompress the files.

Last update: 2016 September 2

Previous page    Next page
Return to Explanatory Supplement TOC