The Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory

Announcement: Swift Data Publicly Available Starting April 5, 2005

March 24, 2005

April 5, 2005 marks the end of the 4.5 month launch and early orbit check-out of the Swift gamma-ray burst observatory and the beginning of normal science operations. During these early months, the Burst Alert Telescope (BAT), X-ray Telescope (XRT) and UV-Optical Telescope (UVOT) have gone through performance verification and initial calibration, and the observatory has now detected over twenty gamma ray bursts. Swift has been regularly responding autonomously to bursts, generating on-board XRT position refinements and carrying out a pre-planned sequence of burst observations. During these early months, the Swift team has been working to validate the instrument performance and calibrate the detectors. The data processing pipeline has also gone through several revisions and enhancements. A further revision of the pipeline is expected to be completed on or about April 5th.

One of the key features of the Swift mission is that data are made immediately public. This will begin with the start of normal operations on April 5. Here is an overview of the plan for how this will take place.

Beginning at 00:01 UT on April 5, 2005, new Swift observations will be made available to the general public via the Swift Quick Look (QL) Web sites. The data remain available on the QL sites for about one week. After this time the data are transferred to the three Swift archives---the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), The UK Swift Science Data Center (UKSSDC) and, ASI Science Data Center (ASDC) in Italy.

Older data will be reprocessed and observations will be made available to the public directly via the archives as soon as they are completed. The archive will shortly (within ~ 1 month) have public data from the start of the mission. During this time, reprocessed data will replace the (currently encrypted) data in the archive on a continuing basis as they become available after reprocessing.

Swift Data Analysis: Guides, Recipes and Tools

The Swift Web site ( contains links to download the latest Swift data analysis software, calibration files (caldb), and software user's guides for each of Swift's three instruments. The Swift Web site also includes links to the Quick Look Web sites, the GCN archive, the three Swift archives, Frequently Asked Questions, and a Feedback form to submit problem reports and questions.

The Swift science team looks forward to working with the broader scientific community on the data from this exciting new multiwavelength observatory.