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Paper: A New Compression Method for FITS Tables
Volume: 442, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XX (ADASSXX)
Page: 493
Authors: Pence, W.; Seaman, R.; White, R. L.
Abstract: As the size and number of FITS binary tables generated by astronomical observatories increases, so does the need for a more efficient compression method to reduce the amount disk space and network bandwidth required to archive and download the data tables. We have developed a new compression method for FITS binary tables that is modeled after the FITS tiled-image compression convention that has been in use for the past decade. Tests of this new method on a sample of FITS binary tables from a variety of current missions show that on average this new compression technique saves about 50% more disk space than when simply compressing the whole FITS file with gzip. Other advantages of this method are (1) the compressed FITS table is itself a valid FITS table, (2) the FITS headers remain uncompressed, thus allowing rapid read and write access to the keyword values, and (3) in the common case where the FITS file contains multiple tables, each table is compressed separately and may be accessed without having to uncompress the whole file.
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