Advanced Scientific Data Format

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Advanced Scientific Data Format
ASDF tree logo.svg
Magic number#ASDF
Initial releaseSeptember 19, 2015; 4 years ago (2015-09-19)
Type of formatscientific data
Contained byYAML
Extended fromFITS

Advanced Scientific Data Format (ASDF) is a proposed replacement to the FITS standard for astronomical images and other astronomical data.[1] The metadata is contained in a YAML header followed by binary or ASCII data.

Improvements to FITS[edit]

The Flexible Image Transport System FITS standard is a widely used data format in astronomy that incorporates metadata and ascii or binary data in the same file.[2] However, the FITS standard has several limitations that make it difficult to use for complicated and hierarchical data. For example, the FITS 'cards' have keywords limited to only 8 characters, which can make it difficult to properly describe the value associated with it and the value for each keyword and its comment cannot be longer than 68 characters.[1] By using YAML, more sophisticated and nested data structures may be used in ASDF than FITS.


  1. ^ a b Greenfield, P.; Droettboom, M.; Bray, E. (2015). "ASDF: A new data format for astronomy". Astronomy and Computing. 12: 240–251. Bibcode:2015A&C....12..240G. doi:10.1016/j.ascom.2015.06.004.
  2. ^ Wells, D. C.; Greisen, E. W.; Harten, R. H. (June 1981). "FITS: A Flexible Image Transport System". Astronomy and Astrophysics Supplement Series. 44: 363–370. Bibcode:1981A&AS...44..363W.

External links[edit]