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Component Overview

The 'Core Search Parameter Components' section contains the most common search parameters for the selected data collection, which can vary between the different collections. This page overviews the types of search components and how to specify parameter constraints for components that can be found on multiple data collections.

 Parameter Constraint Syntax

Learn how to specify constraints on search parameters depending on the nature of the input. The following specifications apply for the core search parameters and Additional Search Parameters in the search form.

Hovering over each filter box shows tooltips on how to use search conditions.

Parameter Constraints: String Fields

How to specify constraints for search components that accept strings: search conditions, valid formats, and some examples.

Search OperationFormatExampleNote
Exact matchabc

Type an exact string into string field boxes such as Dataset ID, Principal Investigator, or Spectral Element ('Names of Filters/Gratings').

This example shows an exact match search for a combination filter set (i.e., a combination of filters delimited by a semicolon ';') used for observations. This is specific to the Filters/Gratings component.

There are many more string field input columns in the Additional Search Parameters section. See more columns by clicking the 'Column Name' filter box.

The Target Descrip column uses "substrings", which means that any text you enter will automatically have wildcards added in front and in back of it, e.g. "jup" is treated as "*jup*", and thus will find descriptions that include "Jupiter" in them.



Strings that include one or more asterisks (*) correspond to a wildcard, where zero or more additional characters can exist between the non-wildcard characters. Asterisks can be placed anywhere in each input string.

Wildcard search does not support type-ahead functionality.


abc, def

ab*, def

abc, de*, fg*

Search by multiple strings delimited by a comma (,) which acts as the logical operator 'OR'.  This type of search includes all observations associated with one or more of the input strings in the Search Results Page. Any number of strings delimited by a comma will work.

Make sure not to confuse comma (,) with semicolon (;) for a 'Multiple' search.  






An exclamation character (!) in front of a string excludes entries associated with the input string. This 'Exclude' operation can be combined with the 'Multiple' or 'Wildcard' operations, but is applied to the proceeding string only when using a 'Multiple' string search (strings separated by commas).

Example: '!G130M,!G160M,G*' will search for all observations that include a grating that begins with 'G', but excludes any that include the G130M or G160M gratings.  Entering '!G130M,G160M' will apply the logical 'NOT' only to the G130M string, and thus return all observations that include the G160M grating and excludes the G130M grating.

Type aheadcharacter or character string

Start typing a character or characters in each string field search box. The form offers a type-ahead operation in some text boxes, which allows scrolling through a suggested list. Once a string of characters is entered, a list of all available observations that match the input string is displayed. Scroll with the mouse or the scroll bar displayed on the right of the type-ahead menu to browse the options and click to select.

Not all string fields offer this type-ahead search functionality. None of the fields within the 'Additional Columns' section.

Parameter Constraints: Numeric Fields

How to specify constraints for search components that accept numeric data types (integer, float): search conditions, valid formats, and some examples.

Search OperationFormatExampleNote
Exact Number

any number

Type a number (or = a number) on a search condition field to retrieve observations matched with the exact value of the search parameter.

The first example returns observations whose exposure time is exactly 1000 seconds, the second example returns observations with exposure time equal to exactly 14660 seconds.

= any number


> number

>= number

< number

<= number

Type a number with simple arithmetic operations (<, >, <=, or >=) to filter the search parameters.

Only observations whose spectral resolving power is larger than or equal to 20000 are returned in this example, where the condition of '>= 20000' is used.

Rangenum1 .. num2

Use the special character expression of two periods (..) between two numeric values (numbers) to specify a range.

This example (in the RA condition box entering 15.0567..17.6709 and in the Dec condition box entering -10.00..5.56) returns only observations whose targets are located between Right Ascension 15.0567 <= RA (degrees) <= 17.6709 AND Declination -10.00 <= Dec (degrees) <= 5.56.

Calculated Range

num1 +- num2

num1 +- num2%

Use the special character expression of +- between two numeric values (numbers) to specify a calculated range.

This example (in the Exp Time condition box entering 400 +- 300 and in the Central Wavelength condition box entering 3000 +- 15%) returns only observations whose targets have an Exposure Time of 100 <= Exp Time <= 700 AND Central Wavelength 2550 <= Central Wavelength <= 3450.

Parameter Constraints: DateTime Fields

How to specify constraints for search components that accept dates or times: search conditions, valid formats, and some examples.

Search OperationFormatExampleNote
Exact date/time


yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss

Each condition for Date and Time can be directly typed using a valid format. However, it is not required to add Time constraints to initiate searches.

Another option to filter the Date/Time constraint is using the built-in date calendar and the time clock, as seen in the video clip.


> yyyy-mm-dd

>= yyyy-mm-dd

< yyyy-mm-dd

<= yyyy-mm-dd

Type dates with simple arithmetic operations (<, >, <=, or >=) to filter the search. This example returns all observations released on and before October 21, 1999 (1999-10-21).


.. yyyy-mm-dd

yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss .. yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss

Use the special character expression (..) between two dates to set the date range. Observations archived between 2010-05-10 and 2010-06-30 will be returned with this example condition.

Core Search Parameter Components

Spectral Element

Example of a type-ahead search result for Filters/Gratings that start with 'G13'.

Example of 3 filter/grating entries: an exact match of POL120, a wildcard search on G*, and an exclusion of G130M.

The 'Spectral Element' refers to filters, gratings, both, or combination filter sets such as 'POL120UV;F330W' depending on the data collection.

One or more filters or gratings can be entered into the 'Filters/ Gratings' box. Press 'tab', 'return', or 'comma' on your keyboard to finish entering the filter/grating name (clicking off the text box will also work).

  • Upon entering a filter/grating, it will be added and surrounded by a light-blue color.  The filter/grating shown will be included as a search filter.


  • The 'X' mark right next to each entry can used to remove a filter/grating.

This field supports type-ahead. Once a key is pressed, a list of filters/gratings that contain that text will be shown. Browse through the suggested list to find the one being searched for and then click to select it.

Since there are many options for searching based on the filter/grating list, we expand the description with more examples below. This component is a String Field, so there are various ways to constrain the search. Below are some examples of how to use these constraints. Experiment with other options for further constraining the search.


Examples for Spectral Element Component

Exact match


Type an exact name of the filter, grating, or the combination filter set to retrieve only observations associated with the input string.

Combination filter sets are delimited by a semicolon (;). Remember that combination sets are single strings.



This example retrieves observations that used grating names starting with 'G' and ending with 'M' such as 'G150M' or 'G220M'.


Since a combination filter set is considered as a single string, the input wildcard characters 'F81*' retrieve all observations associated with the filter 'F814W' and the other ones such as 'F814W;POLQN18 and 'F814W;F791W'.

MultipleG130M, F550W

The 'Multiple' operator (',') acts as the logical operator 'OR'. Thus this example retrieves observations used the grating 'G130M' or the filter 'F550W'.


This example retrieves observations used the filter 'F550W' or the combination filter set 'POL60UV;PR200L'.

Be sure to use the 'Multiple' operator, comma (,) not a semicolon (;) used for appending filters for combination filter set names.


This operation excludes any observations using the filter 'F550W'.


This search retrieves observations using all grating options ('G*) except the grating 'G140L'.

Type ahead

Type ahead limitation

Note that this only shows a list of single spectral elements and not combination filter sets.

Observed Date

The 'Observed Date' Component is a DateTime field.

To constrain data by Date and/or Time, use the format: yyyy-mm-dd in the 'Obs Start Date' field and hh:mm:ss in the 'Time' field. Note the 'Time' field is not required.

Shortcuts are available in these fields. Entering just a year in the 'Obs Start Date' field will default to January 1st of the year, e.g., entering just '2001' is the same as entering '2001-01-01'. Entering just a year and month will default to the 1st of that month, e.g., entering just '2001-04' is the same as entering '2001-04-01'. Entering partial times will fill in the rest with zeroes, e.g., entering '15' in the 'Time' field is the same as entering '15:00:00', and entering '11:30' is the same as entering '11:30:00'.

In addition to directly typing in an exact date/time, this component offers a built-in calendar and clock to set the parameters.


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