NOST Issues New Draft FITS Standard for Comment

Volume 14, Number 2, June 1998
by Richard White

The NASA Science Office of Standards and Technology (NOST) Draft Standard 100-1.2, Definition of the Flexible Image Transport System (FITS), was released for community review and comment in mid-April 1998. This standard is being developed by a NOST-sponsored Technical Panel.

FITS Technical Panel 

Robert J. Hanisch, chair	Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) 
Barry M Schlesinger, secretary	NASA FITS Support Office 
Allen Farris			STScI 
Eric W. Greisen			National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) 
William D. Pence		NASA GSFC 
Peter J. Teuben			University of Maryland (UMd) 
Randall W. Thompson		STScI/Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC)
Archibald Warnock		A/WWW Enterprises

This is the first revision of the FITS standard since the adoption of Version 1.1 in 1995. The main changes involve the inclusion of image and binary table extensions and the use, syntax, and formatting of keywords and their values.

The Technical Panel will review and respond to all comments. The panel will either incorporate the substance of a comment into the standard, or it will instead provide the reasons for not doing so and describe any revision to the standard motivated by the comment. After the panel has completed review of and responded to all comments, the final version will be submitted to NOST for certification. Upon certification, the final version number will be 2.0. It will then be submitted to the Internatonal Astronomical Union (IAU) Commission 5 for formal acceptance as the IAU standard.

Copies of the standard are available in two ways: paper copies and access to electronic copies via the World Wide Web. Electronic copies are available formatted for LaTeX, PostScript, gziped PostScript, and HTML. The electronic versions are posted on the FITS Support Office Web site. The Web site also contains a summary of significant changes between Versions 1.1 and 1.2 (Draft).

Paper versions may be requested from the National Space Science Data Center's Coordinated Request and User Support Office (CRUSO) at or as given on the back page of this newsletter.

All comments should be posted to the fitsbits exploder at by July 15, 1998. Dr. William Pence, a member of the Technical Panel, will oversee the reading, discussion, and panel response to all comments.

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Editor:Miranda Beall
Programmer: Erin Gardner
Responsible Official: Dr. Joseph H. King, Code 633
Last Revised: 27 JULY 98 [EDG]
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