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About quick-look data

Due to the nature of the mission, Swift data are made available at the earliest possible opportunity. This can even mean that partial data for a given observation are available before the observation has been completed. To differentiate such partial observations from the final, completed and calibrated datasets, Swift data are initially designated as quick-look data and are made available through a dedicated interface. Around a week after the observation is completed, the data are considered complete and are moved from the quick-look area onto the main Swift data archive.

Quick-look data are generally available around two hours after a ground-station pass, and comprise all of the data downloaded in that and previous passes. They are not static products, since at the next ground-station pass data for a given observation, or updated housekeeping information, may be downlinked. After each downlink the data are processed at the main Swift Data Center in the US using the standard pipelines in HEASoft to produce clean level 2 files (event lists, images etc), and both the raw and processed data are then posted to the quick-look area. The ‘Ver’ column on the quick-look site indicates how many times each observation has been reprocessed and the ‘Comment’ column indicates what triggered the latest processing (usually either that new data were received at the MOC or that the data are complete and so have been reprocessed a final time ready for moving to the archive). At the UKSSDC, each time the quick-look data are updated, we re-run the XRT pipeline processing locally, usually with a newer version of HEASoft and give you the option of which version to download.