In this chapter, we’ll discuss less frequently used FITS data structures. They include ASCII tables, variable length tables, and random access group FITS files.
FITS standard supports both binary and ASCII tables. In ASCII tables, all the data are stored in a human readable text form, so it takes up more space and extra processing to parse the text for numeric data.
In PyFITS, the interface for ASCII tables and binary tables is basically the same, i.e. the data is in the .data attribute and the field() method is used to refer to the columns and returns a numpy array. When reading the table, PyFITS will automatically detect what kind of table it is.
>>> hdus = pyfits.open('ascii_table.fits') >>> hdus.data[:1] FITS_rec( ... [(10.123000144958496, 37)], ... dtype=[('a', '>f4'),('b','>i4')]) >>> hdus.data.field('a') array([ 10.12300014, 5.19999981, 15.60999966, 0. , 345. ], dtype=float32) >>> hdus.data.formats ['E10.4', 'I5']
Note that the formats in the record array refer to the raw data which are ASCII strings (therefore ‘a11’ and ‘a5’), but the .formats attribute of data retains the original format specifications (‘E10.4’ and ‘I5’).
Creating an ASCII table from scratch is similar to creating a binary table. The difference is in the Column definitions. The columns/fields in an ASCII table are more limited than in a binary table. It does not allow more than one numerical value in a cell. Also, it only supports a subset of what allowed in a binary table, namely character strings, integer, and (single and double precision) floating point numbers. Boolean and complex numbers are not allowed.
The format syntax (the values of the TFORM keywords) is different from that of a binary table, they are:
Aw Character string Iw (Decimal) Integer Fw.d Single precision real Ew.d Single precision real, in exponential notation Dw.d Double precision real, in exponential notation
where, w is the width, and d the number of digits after the decimal point. The syntax difference between ASCII and binary tables can be confusing. For example, a field of 3-character string is specified ‘3A’ in a binary table and as ‘A3’ in an ASCII table.
The other difference is the need to specify the table type when using either ColDef() or new_table().
The default value for tbtype is BinTableHDU.
>>> # Define the columns >>> import numpy as np >>> import pyfits >>> a1 = np.array(['abcd', 'def']) >>> r1 = np.array([11., 12.]) >>> c1 = pyfits.Column(name='abc', format='A3', array=a1) >>> c2 = pyfits.Column(name='def', format='E', array=r1, bscale=2.3, ... bzero=0.6) >>> c3 = pyfits.Column(name='t1', format='I', array=[91, 92, 93]) # Create the table >>> x = pyfits.ColDefs([c1, c2, c3], tbtype='TableHDU') >>> hdu = pyfits.new_table(x, tbtype='TableHDU') # Or, simply, >>> hdu = pyfits.new_table([c1, c2, c3], tbtype='TableHDU') >>> hdu.writeto('ascii.fits') >>> hdu.data FITS_rec([('abcd', 11.0, 91), ('def', 12.0, 92), ('', 0.0, 93)], dtype=[('abc', '|S3'), ('def', '|S14'), ('t1', '|S10')])
The FITS standard also supports variable length array tables. The basic idea is that sometimes it is desirable to have tables with cells in the same field (column) that have the same data type but have different lengths/dimensions. Compared with the standard table data structure, the variable length table can save storage space if there is a large dynamic range of data lengths in different cells.
A variable length array table can have one or more fields (columns) which are variable length. The rest of the fields (columns) in the same table can still be regular, fixed-length ones. PyFITS will automatically detect what kind of field it is during reading; no special action is needed from the user. The data type specification (i.e. the value of the TFORM keyword) uses an extra letter ‘P’ and the format is
where r is 0, 1, or absent, t is one of the letter code for regular table data type (L, B, X, I, J, etc. currently, the X format is not supported for variable length array field in PyFITS), and max is the maximum number of elements. So, for a variable length field of int32, The corresponding format spec is, e.g. ‘PJ(100)’.
>>> f = pyfits.open('variable_length_table.fits') >>> print f.header['tform5'] 1PI(20) >>> print f.data.field(4)[:3] [array(, dtype=int16) array([88, 2], dtype=int16) array([ 1, 88, 3], dtype=int16)]
The above example shows a variable length array field of data type int16 and its first row has one element, second row has 2 elements etc. Accessing variable length fields is almost identical to regular fields, except that operations on the whole filed are usually not possible. A user has to process the field row by row.
Creating a variable length table is almost identical to creating a regular table. The only difference is in the creation of field definitions which are variable length arrays. First, the data type specification will need the ‘P’ letter, and secondly, the field data must be an objects array (as included in the numpy module). Here is an example of creating a table with two fields, one is regular and the other variable length array.
>>> import pyfits >>> import numpy as np >>> c1 = pyfits.Column(name='var', format='PJ()', ... array=np.array([[45., 56] [11, 12, 13]], ... dtype=np.object)) >>> c2 = pyfits.Column(name='xyz', format='2I', array=[[11, 3], [12, 4]]) # the rest is the same as a regular table. # Create the table HDU >>> tbhdu = pyfits.new_table([c1, c2]) >>> print tbhdu.data FITS_rec([(array([45, 56]), array([11, 3], dtype=int16)), (array([11, 12, 13]), array([12, 4], dtype=int16))], dtype=[('var', '<i4', 2), ('xyz', '<i2', 2)]) # write to a FITS file >>> tbhdu.writeto('var_table.fits') >>> hdu = pyfits.open('var_table.fits') # Note that heap info is taken care of (PCOUNT) when written to FITS file. >>> hdu.header XTENSION= 'BINTABLE' / binary table extension BITPIX = 8 / array data type NAXIS = 2 / number of array dimensions NAXIS1 = 12 / length of dimension 1 NAXIS2 = 2 / length of dimension 2 PCOUNT = 20 / number of group parameters GCOUNT = 1 / number of groups TFIELDS = 2 / number of table fields TTYPE1 = 'var ' TFORM1 = 'PJ(3) ' TTYPE2 = 'xyz ' TFORM2 = '2I '
Another less familiar data structure supported by the FITS standard is the random access group. This convention was established before the binary table extension was introduced. In most cases its use can now be superseded by the binary table. It is mostly used in radio interferometry.
Like Primary HDUs, a Random Access Group HDU is always the first HDU of a FITS file. Its data has one or more groups. Each group may have any number (including 0) of parameters, together with an image. The parameters and the image have the same data type.
All groups in the same HDU have the same data structure, i.e. same data type (specified by the keyword BITPIX, as in image HDU), same number of parameters (specified by PCOUNT), and the same size and shape (specified by NAXISn keywords) of the image data. The number of groups is specified by GCOUNT and the keyword NAXIS1 is always 0. Thus the total data size for a Random Access Group HDU is
|BITPIX| * GCOUNT * (PCOUNT + NAXIS2 * NAXIS3 * ... * NAXISn)
Accessing the header of a Random Access Group HDU is no different from any other HDU. Just use the .header attribute.
The content of the HDU can similarly be summarized by using the HDUList.info() method:
>>> f = pyfits.open('random_group.fits') >>> print f.header['groups'] True >>> print f.header['gcount'] 7956 >>> print f.header['pcount'] 6 >>> f.info() Filename: random_group.fits No. Name Type Cards Dimensions Format 0 AN GroupsHDU 158 (3, 4, 1, 1, 1) Float32 7956 Groups 6 Parameters
The data part of a random access group HDU is, like other HDUs, in the .data attribute. It includes both parameter(s) and image array(s).
show the data in 100th group, including parameters and data
>>> print f.data (-8.1987486677035799e-06, 1.2010923615889215e-05, -1.011189139244005e-05, 258.0, 2445728., 0.10, array([[[[[ 12.4308672 , 0.56860745, 3.99993873], [ 12.74043655, 0.31398511, 3.99993873], [ 0. , 0. , 3.99993873], [ 0. , 0. , 3.99993873]]]]], dtype=float32))
The data first lists all the parameters, then the image array, for the specified group(s). As a reminder, the image data in this file has the shape of (1,1,1,4,3) in Python or C convention, or (3,4,1,1,1) in IRAF or FORTRAN convention.
To access the parameters, first find out what the parameter names are, with the .parnames attribute:
>>> f.data.parnames # get the parameter names ['uu--', 'vv--', 'ww--', 'baseline', 'date', 'date']
>>> print f.data.par(0) # Access group parameter by name or by index -8.1987486677035799e-06 >>> print f.data.par('uu--') -8.1987486677035799e-06
Note that the parameter name ‘date’ appears twice. This is a feature in the random access group, and it means to add the values together. Thus:
>>> # Duplicate group parameter name 'date' for 5th and 6th parameters >>> print f.data.par(4) 2445728.0 >>> print f.data.par(5) 0.10 # When accessed by name, it adds the values together if the name is shared # by more than one parameter >>> print f.data.par('date') 2445728.10
The :meth`~GroupData.par` is a method for either the entire data object or one data item (a group). So there are two possible ways to get a group parameter for a certain group, this is similar to the situation in table data (with its field() method):
>>> # Access group parameter by selecting the row (group) number last >>> print f.data.par(0) -8.1987486677035799e-06 # Access group parameter by selecting the row (group) number first >>> print f.data.par(0) -8.1987486677035799e-06
On the other hand, to modify a group parameter, we can either assign the new value directly (if accessing the row/group number last) or use the setpar() method (if accessing the row/group number first). The method setpar() is also needed for updating by name if the parameter is shared by more than one parameters:
>>> # Update group parameter when selecting the row (group) number last >>> f.data.par(0) = 99. >>> # Update group parameter when selecting the row (group) number first >>> f.data.setpar(0, 99.) # or setpar('uu--', 99.) >>> # Update group parameter by name when the name is shared by more than # one parameters, the new value must be a tuple of constants or sequences >>> f.data.setpar('date', (2445729., 0.3)) >>> f.data[:3].setpar('date', (2445729., [0.11, 0.22, 0.33])) >>> f.data[:3].par('date') array([ 2445729.11 , 2445729.22 , 2445729.33000001])
The image array of the data portion is accessible by the data attribute of the data object. A numpy array is returned:
>>> print f.data.data array([[[[[ 12.4308672 , 0.56860745, 3.99993873], [ 12.74043655, 0.31398511, 3.99993873], [ 0. , 0. , 3.99993873], [ 0. , 0. , 3.99993873]]]]], type=float32)
>>> # Create the image arrays. The first dimension is the number of groups. >>> imdata = numpy.arange(100.0, shape=(10, 1, 1, 2, 5)) # Next, create the group parameter data, we'll have two parameters. # Note that the size of each parameter's data is also the number of groups. # A parameter's data can also be a numeric constant. >>> pdata1 = numpy.arange(10) + 0.1 >>> pdata2 = 42 # Create the group data object, put parameter names and parameter data # in lists assigned to their corresponding arguments. # If the data type (bitpix) is not specified, the data type of the image # will be used. >>> x = pyfits.GroupData(imdata, parnames=['abc', 'xyz'], ... pardata=[pdata1, pdata2], bitpix=-32) # Now, create the GroupsHDU and write to a FITS file. >>> hdu = pyfits.GroupsHDU(x) >>> hdu.writeto('test_group.fits') >>> hdu.header SIMPLE = T / conforms to FITS standard BITPIX = -32 / array data type NAXIS = 5 / number of array dimensions NAXIS1 = 0 NAXIS2 = 5 NAXIS3 = 2 NAXIS4 = 1 NAXIS5 = 1 EXTEND = T GROUPS = T / has groups PCOUNT = 2 / number of parameters GCOUNT = 10 / number of groups PTYPE1 = 'abc ' PTYPE2 = 'xyz ' >>> print hdu.data[:2] FITS_rec[ (0.10000000149011612, 42.0, array([[[[ 0., 1., 2., 3., 4.], [ 5., 6., 7., 8., 9.]]]], dtype=float32)), (1.1000000238418579, 42.0, array([[[[ 10., 11., 12., 13., 14.], [ 15., 16., 17., 18., 19.]]]], dtype=float32)) ]
A general technique has been developed for storing compressed image data in FITS binary tables. The principle used in this convention is to first divide the n-dimensional image into a rectangular grid of sub images or ‘tiles’. Each tile is then compressed as a continuous block of data, and the resulting compressed byte stream is stored in a row of a variable length column in a FITS binary table. Several commonly used algorithms for compressing image tiles are supported. These include, Gzip, Rice, IRAF Pixel List (PLIO), and Hcompress.
For more details, reference “A FITS Image Compression Proposal” from:
and “Registered FITS Convention, Tiled Image Compression Convention”:
Compressed image data is accessed, in PyFITS, using the optional “pyfits.compression” module contained in a C shared library (compression.so). If an attempt is made to access an HDU containing compressed image data when the pyfitsComp module is not available, the user is notified of the problem and the HDU is treated like a standard binary table HDU. This notification will only be made the first time compressed image data is encountered. In this way, the pyfitsComp module is not required in order for PyFITS to work.
In PyFITS, the header of a compressed image HDU appears to the user like any image header. The actual header stored in the FITS file is that of a binary table HDU with a set of special keywords, defined by the convention, to describe the structure of the compressed image. The conversion between binary table HDU header and image HDU header is all performed behind the scenes. Since the HDU is actually a binary table, it may not appear as a primary HDU in a FITS file.
The content of the HDU header may be accessed using the .header attribute:
>>> f = pyfits.open('compressed_image.fits') >>> print f.header XTENSION= 'IMAGE ' / extension type BITPIX = 16 / array data type NAXIS = 2 / number of array dimensions NAXIS1 = 512 / length of data axis NAXIS2 = 512 / length of data axis PCOUNT = 0 / number of parameters GCOUNT = 1 / one data group (required keyword) EXTNAME = 'COMPRESSED' / name of this binary table extension
The contents of the corresponding binary table HDU may be accessed using the hidden ._header attribute. However, all user interface with the HDU header should be accomplished through the image header (the .header attribute).
>>> f = pyfits.open('compressed_image.fits') >>> print f._header XTENSION= 'BINTABLE' / binary table extension BITPIX = 8 / 8-bit bytes NAXIS = 2 / 2-dimensional binary table NAXIS1 = 8 / width of table in bytes NAXIS2 = 512 / number of rows in table PCOUNT = 157260 / size of special data area GCOUNT = 1 / one data group (required keyword) TFIELDS = 1 / number of fields in each row TTYPE1 = 'COMPRESSED_DATA' / label for field 1 TFORM1 = '1PB(384)' / data format of field: variable length array ZIMAGE = T / extension contains compressed image ZBITPIX = 16 / data type of original image ZNAXIS = 2 / dimension of original image ZNAXIS1 = 512 / length of original image axis ZNAXIS2 = 512 / length of original image axis ZTILE1 = 512 / size of tiles to be compressed ZTILE2 = 1 / size of tiles to be compressed ZCMPTYPE= 'RICE_1 ' / compression algorithm ZNAME1 = 'BLOCKSIZE' / compression block size ZVAL1 = 32 / pixels per block EXTNAME = 'COMPRESSED' / name of this binary table extension
The contents of the HDU can be summarized by using either the info() convenience function or method:
>>> pyfits.info('compressed_image.fits') Filename: compressed_image.fits No. Name Type Cards Dimensions Format 0 PRIMARY PrimaryHDU 6 () int16 1 COMPRESSED CompImageHDU 52 (512, 512) int16 >>> >>> f = pyfits.open('compressed_image.fits') >>> f.info() Filename: compressed_image.fits No. Name Type Cards Dimensions Format 0 PRIMARY PrimaryHDU 6 () int16 1 COMPRESSED CompImageHDU 52 (512, 512) int16 >>>
As with the header, the data of a compressed image HDU appears to the user as standard uncompressed image data. The actual data is stored in the fits file as Binary Table data containing at least one column (COMPRESSED_DATA). Each row of this variable-length column contains the byte stream that was generated as a result of compressing the corresponding image tile. Several optional columns may also appear. These include, UNCOMPRESSED_DATA to hold the uncompressed pixel values for tiles that cannot be compressed, ZSCALE and ZZERO to hold the linear scale factor and zero point offset which may be needed to transform the raw uncompressed values back to the original image pixel values, and ZBLANK to hold the integer value used to represent undefined pixels (if any) in the image.
The content of the HDU data may be accessed using the .data attribute:
>>> f = pyfits.open('compressed_image.fits') >>> f.data array([[38, 43, 35, ..., 45, 43, 41], [36, 41, 37, ..., 42, 41, 39], [38, 45, 37, ..., 42, 35, 43], ..., [49, 52, 49, ..., 41, 35, 39], [57, 52, 49, ..., 40, 41, 43], [53, 57, 57, ..., 39, 35, 45]], dtype=int16)
To create a compressed image HDU from scratch, simply construct a CompImageHDU object from an uncompressed image data array and its associated image header. From there, the HDU can be treated just like any other image HDU.
>>> hdu = pyfits.CompImageHDU(imageData, imageHeader) >>> hdu.writeto('compressed_image.fits') >>>