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SSA - Data Access

Users can access the data held in the SSA through four web-based forms. These forms parse the user's input parameters and submit SQL (Structured Query Language) queries to the database.
  • Radial search - search the SSA object catalogues around a position or object name
  • Menu query - build simple SQL queries using a series of forms
  • Freeform query - submit an SQL query directly
  • CrossID - cross-match SSA object catalogues with a user supplied list of RA & Decs
The results, i.e. rows selected from the database, are displayed in an HTML table and/or written to a file (ASCII, FITS or VOTable format) that can be downloaded.

Users should note the following general points:

  • HTML table output is only intended as a summary and the number of rows displayed is limited to 100. A note at the end of the table informs the user if this was exceeded.
  • The number of result rows written to files is also limited and depends on how many parameters have been requested i.e.
    maximum rows written to file = nint(15000 / no. parameters) x 1000
    So if only three parameters have been requested than the file can contain up to 5 million rows. If the default subset of parameters for the SOURCE table has been chosen (27 parameters) then 556000 rows can be written. Again users are warned if the limit was exceeded and an indication of how many extra rows were returned is provided.
  • Users who exceed the file row limit should submit their query in parts e.g. by querying sections in RA or Dec or magnitude slices.
  • If an email address is supplied queries are allowed to run for 30 seconds before they are placed in the background and the browser window is released. On completion an email is sent informing the user where to pick up the results.
  • The tables in the database do not contain any NULL values. Where values are unavailable for a given object parameter default values have been inserted. e.g. in the SOURCE table if an object does not have a measured I-band magnitude the value -99.99999 is recorded. Users should be aware of this when constructing their queries and when interpreting the results. See the schema browser for details of a given parameter's default value.
  • NULL values can be returned by the CrossID search or if users JOIN tables. If this occurs the values are written out as zeros.

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WFAU, Institute for Astronomy,
Royal Observatory, Blackford Hill
Edinburgh, EH9 3HJ, UK