APT Bulk Target Ingest

JWST APT includes a capability to ingest a file containing fixed target information directly into the APT target section.

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For programs involving a large number of targets, APT supports the ingest of catalogs or lists of targets and target information in various formats.

File formats for importing targets

The are 4 supported file formats:

  • White space separated 
  • Comma separated values (CSV) 
  • Tab separated values (TSV)
  • Virtual Observatory table (VOT) 

Here is an example of a CSV file for fixed targets. (Solar System targets are not supported for bulk entry.)

# Name, RA, DEC, RA Uncertainty, Dec Uncertainty, RA PM, RA PM units, DEC PM, DEC PM units, Epoch, Annual Parallax, "Comments" 

SDSS2346-0016,23 46 25.6700,-00 16 0.05,0.1,0.1,3.4, MAS/YR,1.0,MAS/YR,1989.9,,"From the Sloan Survey" 

V-V1343-AQL,19 11 50,4 58 58,,,,,,,,,"This object is from SIMBAD"

HD76932,08 58 43.9300,-16 07 57.90,,,,,,,,,


There are several items to note about the format:
  • Lines starting with a # are comment lines.

  • The first line in the file (there can be other comment lines between this line and the data) contains the names of the columns; the column names in the file must be unique, and they are not case sensitive. The names above are the names that APT uses, but you can use other names for some columns and APT may properly interpret them (e.g., RA can be RA, Right Ascension, or R.A.) If you do not supply a column identification line, or if your column names cannot be interpretted by APT, you can manually assign the columns.

  • You do not need to supply values for all of the APT fields (e.g., you can skip the RA Uncertainty field and populate it in APT after ingest).

  • Each line must contain the exact same number of entries. For CSV format, you can use extra commas to represent missing data (e.g., for SDSS2346-0016, there is one comma between the Epoch and Comment to indicate that the Annual Parallax field is not populated. Note that for white space and tab separated entries, this method will not work (i.e., you cannot have extra whitespace or tabs to indicate blank fields).

  • The coordinate fields can support multiple formats, as shown above. For RA, you can use 19 09 53.0 (no units), 16h 22m 31s (units), or 118.77170 (decimal degrees). For Dec, you can use 4 53 16 (no units), -17d 52m 44.0s (units), or 22.00137 (decimal degrees); note that you cannot use ' (minutes) or " (seconds) for the units.

  • Note that text fields need to use double quotes (") and not single quotes (').

  • To specify quotes within a text field, use double double quotes (e.g., "This will preserve the ""quote"" mark.")

  • For some text field data, you will need to use quotes around the text. In white space separated files, quotes are needed around all text fields that contain white space (e.g., "19 09 53.0"). In CSV files, quotes are needed if the text field contains a comma (e.g., "This object, from my list, is interesting").

Accessing the importer

Words in bold are GUI menus/
panels or data software packages; 
bold italics are buttons in GUI
tools or package parameters.

To ingest a target list into APT: 

  • Go to FileImport Import Targets... , or

  • Select the Targets folder in the tree editor and click on the Import Targets button in the APT window (or right-click on the Targets folder and select Import Targets ... from the drop-down menu), or

  • Select the Fixed Targets folder in the tree editor, if you've already added one or more targets, and click on the Import Targets..button in the APT window (or right click on the Fixed Targets folder and select Import Targets... from the menu).

These options are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Options for Accessing the Target list importer in APT

The target importer can be accessed in several different ways, as shown in the 3 panels above.

Assigning column names

After launching the importer, click Browse... to select the target list you wish to import. APT will attempt to automatically identify the file format. If it cannot, select the correct format from the drop-down menu. For an example of each format, select it in the File Format field with no file specified. See Figure 2.

Figure 2. Target list import interface GUI

This GUI permits the file type and file name to be selected for import.
Once you enter a file name, the importer will attempt to match the column names in your file (if you provided any) with the APT field names. 
Figure 3. Import GUI attempts to identify columns in the input file

These panels show several outcomes from the tool's attempt to identify columns in the input file.
The first example in Figure 3 shows a properly formatted CSV file with 3 targets. In the second, the field name "RA2000," was not understood by APT, so it will need to be manually selected. Note that the importer requires the Name in the Proposal, RA, and DEC fields to be identified before it will accept the file for import. You can view all the objects in the file by scrolling down.

In the third example, the entry in the Annual Parallax column has an incorrect format. You may import a file with this type of error, although the object with the error will not be imported (but all the other targets will be). However, if all the entries in a given column are improperly formatted, the importer will not accept the file for import.

With all the columns identified, click on the Import button to load the targets into APT.

Besides the Name in the Proposal, RA, and DEC, 2 other fields are required for a minimal, complete target specification: Category and Description 1. These fields may be entered manually if not given in your file. See this table for allowed target categories and descriptions.

Latest updates

  • Figures updated with APT 2023.3

    Article updated for Cycle 1 call for proposals release
Originally published