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Analysis Tools

Astronomical data can be analyzed in different ways to learn about a particular source. Astronomers can time events (for instance, recording exactly when a binary star system is eclipsed and for how long), record the energy distribution of a source (for instance, passing sunlight through a prism to break it into its component colors), or record the appearance of a source (for instance, taking a picture of the source). These three methods are by no means exclusive of each other, but each reveals different aspects of a source and each method gives the astronomer slightly different information. These are called timing, spectral, and imaging analysis, respectively. The results of each are displayed as light curves, spectra, and images. There are suites of Hera tools devoted to each of the different types of analysis. Different tools are used with different data sets. Timing tools are used with lightcurve data sets, for example. Once you have used the File Utilities to take an initial look at your data set, you are ready to use one of the suites of analysis tools to rigorously study the data. The first activity uses timing analysis tools to evaluate light curve data from periodic sources. Spectral and imaging analysis tools will be coming.

Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

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Acting Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
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