FITS Files

Images files in a Digital World
Credit: Wikimedia/DARPA

Astronomers use telescopes around the world and in space. Every telescope is different but the data that they take is the same.

To help use lots of different telescopes from all over the globe a special kind of computer file was made. It is called a FITS file, which stands for the Flexible Image Transport System.

These files store the actual images. They also have other information in them, like the date and time of the observation. They store the name and location of the telescope along with the weather at the time the observation was taken.

A lot of these files are now stored online in archives. These bring together observations from telescopes around the world. There are millions of images which can be accessed by anyone for free.