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Quality Control and
Data Processing

CAL | HC | refs | QC
Trending & QC1
general info
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General information


Pipelines are used at ESO to process both calibration data and science data and to retrieve quality information. There is a dedicated pipeline for each VLT and VLTI instrument. Find general information about ESO reduction pipelines here.


The main functionalities of the pipelines are:

  • create master calibration data,
  • reduce science frames,
  • extract QC information from the data.
QC Garching creates master calibration data from all raw calibration data. The raw data are stored in the ESO Archive and are public. They are quality-checked and used for data reduction and for trending.

For selected instrument modes, we offer science-grade data products processed with the pipelines.


There are two instances of the data reduction pipelines:

  • at the instrument workstation on Paranal, running in automatic mode,
  • at HQ Garching, run by the Quality Control Group in the optimized mode.
The automatic mode is used for quick look and for on-site quality control. It processes all raw data sequentially, as they arrive from the instrument. If calibration products ("master calibrations") are required for processing science data, these are taken from a database with standard, pre-manufactured calibration products. The automatic mode is not tuned to obtain the best possible results.

The optimized mode is the mode, which uses all data of a night, including the daytime calibrations. The calibration data are sorted and grouped according to their dependencies. Master calibration data are created. Their quality is checked.


The AMBER pipeline supports the different AMBER setups.
It is based on the amdlib librairies developped by JMMC. You can find more information here..
The AMBER pipeline is publicly available (check out here). Under this link you also find the pipeline Users Manual.

AMBER Raw files and products format

Raw data.
AMBER raw data are FITs binary tables with various extensions which described the VLTI, the instrument and the fringe data .
There are common tables for all the VLTI instruments.
The products are stored as FITS files (binary table) and followed the Optical/Interferometry (OI Fits) convention. More information on this standard can be found here .

AMBER associations

AMBER raw files are classified and associated following the calibration map which is available here.

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