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Elements of the Portal Graphical User Interface

Direct your browser to https://mast.stsci.edu/ to use the MAST Portal web application. The Portal graphical user interface (GUI) is annotated in Fig. 1 and described in the following sub-sections.


Figure 1 — The MAST Portal web application, showing the main components (after a successful search) with shaded/numbered boxes: the Search Panel (1: top), the Search Status and Action Bar (2: second from top, left); the Filters Panel (3: left), the Search Results Table (4: center), and the AstroView Tool (5: right).

Search Panel

The Search Panel is the only panel visible at the beginning of a session, apart from a Home Page with status information, until a successful search is executed.

MAST Collections

Portal collections selector menu

The set of data collections available via the Portal is listed in the collection pull-down menu at upper left. The most often used is searching for a target by name or coordinates, which is described in Basic Search.

Target Specification

Portal target/position dialog box

Targets may be searched by name or by celestial coordinates. Note that the search radius may optionally be specified. The allowed formats for target name and for coordinate syntax are described in Basic Search.

Execute Search

Click the Search button to execute the search, or the Advanced Search text to refine the search.

Target List Upload

A list of targets, including a name and the celestial coordinates, one per row, may be uploaded to the results grid. You can then cross-correlate them with MAST holdings all at once, as explained in Special Searches.

Download Basket Shortcuts

The My Download Basket button displays the current number of files in the Basket; click it to bring up the Download Manager. Two shortcuts to download manager functionality are available in the search panel: clear the download basket of all contents, and (if you are logged in) bring up your download history.

Login Status

Portal log-in, subscriptions, and notifications menu

At the far right of the search panel you can log in. If you are logged in you may subscribe to notifications about the status of programs (e.g., when the data become public, or have been reprocessed) by clicking the Subscriptions... text. You may view notifications by clicking the bell symbol.

Search Status and Action Bar

Search Tabs

Portal search results tabs

The results of each search are preserved during a Portal session. View each search by clicking the tab at the top of the search results panel. The footprints from all searches will appear in AstroView.

Action Bar

Portal action bar

If the search is successful, the number of matching records, the (resolved) target name, the target coordinates (if the target name in the action bar is clicked), and the search radius will be displayed in the status area above the results table. Buttons in the Action Bar (to the right) provide additional functionality, as described in Search Results Grid.

Filters Panel

The Filters Panel enables a finer selection of matching observations using values or ranges of select metadata.

Portal search results Filters panel

These metadata are identical in function to those available in the Advanced Search window (see the descriptions of filter types in the Filters Panel section). This panel may be hidden by clicking the left double arrow (). Each filter can be hidden or unhidden by either clicking Edit Filters at the top, or clicking up/down arrows next to each filter name.

The Keyword/Text Filter dialog near the top searches over all metadata values (including some values hidden from the user), and accepts case-insensitive regular expressions in Javascript format (see the w3schools definition of the RegExp object). For example:

  • The expression ngc will match all records containing the string "ngc"
  • The expression ngc|m101 will find "ngc" or "m101"
  • The expression odk369fdq will find this HST program identifier

Search Results

Observations in MAST that match the search criteria, as modified by the selections in the Filters Panel, are presented in a table, like the one below.

Portal search results table

User-facing metadata for the observations are presented in separate columns; you may show or hide individual columns by clicking the Edit Columns... text and checking boxes next to the column names of interest. These choices will persist for the duration of your Portal session. Preview images will be displayed (if available, as they are in the figure) for each row by checking the Show Preview box at upper right.

Availability of previews

Preview images are not produced for certain types of data (e.g., long-slit spectra). Previews will not be displayed for Exclusive Access data except for authorized users.

AstroView Tool

Portal AstroView tool

The AstroView Tool displays a region of a (selectable) sky survey centered on the coordinates of the target. The tool may be hidden by clicking the double-right arrow on the upper-right of the tool. The AstroView page describes in detail how to use this tool.

Advanced Search Interface

The advanced search window provides a way to fine-tune a search using additional metadata, as shown in Fig. 2 below. Access this from the main Portal GUI by clicking the Advanced Search text.

Portal Advanced Search GUI

Figure 2 — The Advanced Search GUI consists of metadata filters which may be used to constrain the search results. The number of matches to observations with the applied filters is displayed (1: top), the Applied Filters Panel displays the names and values (2: second from top), the available filter Columns Panel (3: lower left), and the selected Filter dialogs (4: lower right).

Only a few MAST collections support an advanced search option.

The main elements of the advanced search are listed below, and explained in detail on the Advanced Search page.

  • Applied Filters Panel
  • Columns Panel
  • Filters Panel

Download Manager Interface

Clicking the basket icon will add one or more selected observations to the basket and bring up the Download Manager window. This GUI shows all files that are associated with each observation and provides various tools for selecting files of interest, and provides multiple methods to download the selected files. See the Download Basket page for details.

Portal Download Manager GUI

Figure 3 — The Download Manager GUI, with components denoted with shaded boxes: an Action Bar (1: top), a Filters Panel (2: left), a File Selector Panel (3: center), and a file Details Panel (4: right). A history of your download activity (if you were logged in) may be viewed by clicking the Download History tab (upper left).

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