Spitzer Heritage Archive Known Bugs and Issues

version released December 2015

Last Updated: March 2016


Table of Contents

Reporting Bugs
Suggested Browsers
Known Major Bugs
Known Minor Bugs
Idiosyncrasies

Reporting Bugs

The known bugs and issues in this version of the Spitzer Heritage Archive (SHA) are listed here. If you think you have found a bug, before reporting it, please check this list, and read the online SHA help. It may be a "feature" we already know about.

If you have found a real bug then please do let us know by sending email to the Help Desk. Please include your operating system version and your browser software and version.


Suggested Browsers and Platforms

Older browser versions than these may work, but we may not be able to support bug fixes for them. We make no guarantees for anything on Solaris. Currently, the only Windows browser known to work is Firefox for Windows.

Known Major Bugs


none known.


Known Minor Bugs

    Browser issues

  1. Odd browser behavior

    In most browsers, the pop-up help window should respect your preferences, e.g., if you want it in a new tab or a new window, it should go into a new tab or new window. For some browsers in some situations, this does not work, and in some cases, does nothing.

    Workaround: Click on the help button or tab again.

    Posted: 26 November 2012


    On Google Chrome, rotating the image from North up to an angle causes the image to distort.

    Workaround: None known; try another platform.

    Posted: 9 Dec 11


  2. Strange small tabs

    On Firefox, an additional small, blue tab sometimes appears in the top right of the SHA window. Clicking on it does nothing, but its arrival seems to herald other strange behavior, and may (or may not) be related to leaving a session idle for too long. This has not been reliably reproducible by our testers.

    Workaround: Reload the SHA, and/or restart the browser. Log in and save searches to easily reproduce them.

    Posted: 3 Jan 2012


  3. Other strange behavior

    Occasionally other strange behaviors have been noted such as overlays not following the image when zooming on the image, or tables not updating, or pieces of the interface (such as the "restrict data in other tabs" option) simply missing. This has not been reliably reproducible by our testers.

    Workaround: Simply reloading the SHA, and/or restarting the browser or even restarting your computer is not enough. You need to actually get into your browser preferences, clear your browser cache, and then reload the SHA. Log in and save searches to easily reproduce them.

    Posted: 6 Sep 2013


    Searching and Search results issues

  4. Reordering the search results changes the units of the coordinates

    If you do a search, the positions of the search results come back in hh:mm:ss and dd:mm:ss format. BUT then if you click on the ra or dec column heading to search, the positions are changed to decimal degrees.

    Workaround: None known. Click on the column heading again to reverse-sort, and again to return to the original view, where the sexagesimal view is restored.

    Posted: 26 Feb 13


  5. Searching for subsets of IRAC data does not work

    If you do a search for just IRAC cryo-era data, IRAC post-cryo data will also be returned.

    Workaround: Impose a filter on your search results to limit the display to just IRAC cryo data.

    Posted: 6 Sep 13


    If you do a search for just IRAC full-array results (filtering out subarray results from the search page), sometimes IRAC full-array results are filtered out as well.

    Workaround: Impose a filter on your search results to limit the display to just IRAC full-array data.

    Posted: 27 Jan 15


  6. Tagging doesn't work for batch searches

    If performing a batch search, there is no way to tag the search for repeating the search later.

    Workaround: None known.

    Posted: 3 Jan 2012


  7. VO catalog results not displayed
  8. For VO catalog searches, the tool retrieves the catalog but is unable to display it.

    Workaround: Download the catalog yourself from another VO access point (see here) and upload it searpately to the tool.

    Posted: March 23, 2016


    Table display issues

  9. Tables sometimes vanish
  10. Under certain circumstances, apparently the computer and/or browser doesn't always relay all the mouse actions. As such, the table view (of catalogs or search results) sometimes inexplibly vanishes.

    Workaround: Click on another tab, and then go back to your catalog tab. This forces the browser to redraw it.

    Posted: 12 November 2013, updated 11 Dec 13


  11. Table column resizing
  12. Under certain circumstances, when grabbing the boundary of a table column to resize it, the initial click of the click-and-drag is registered, but the "letting go" of the click to reposition the boundary is not handled correctly, and you can't regain control of regular mouse use easily. This may or may not be related to the minor bug above re: vanishing tables.

    Workaround: Click on another part of the browser screen, and then you should regain control of your mouse clicks.

    Posted: 11 December 13


    Visualization issues

  13. Moving layers pop-up
  14. When adding many layers to the images, the layers pop-up can become longer than your screen. If you scroll down to see the lower portion of the pop-up, the pop-up moves with you.

    Impact: low

    Workaround: Drag-and-drop the Layers pop-up, even a little, and then it will 'stick', and you can scroll down to the bottom.

    Posted: 15 December 2015

  15. For the new markers that are large footprints from telescopes, if you drag the center of the footprint off the image, you can't get it back onto the image.

    Impact: low

    Workaround: Use the "Layers" popup window to remove the layer, or restart the tool.

    Posted: 15 December 2015

  16. Some underlying images are too small for the overlay.

    For some observations, the automatically-chosen image is too small for the overlay.

    Workaround: Manually change the background image.

    Posted: 3 Jan 2012


    Data download issues

  17. Zip file issues for a lot of data at once

    See "too many zip files" idiosyncrasy below.


Known Idiosyncracies


'Lost' Downloads

Depending on how your browser is configured, when you download data, your browser may save it in a counter-intuitive place. Under Safari (on the Mac), for small downloads, it might not appear to have done anything at all. It actually has; it's trying to be helpful by doing it quickly. To find where your browser has put your data, (a) search on your local disk for recently modified files; (b) look in the preferences for the browser configuration option of where to put downloaded files; or (c) look for a directory called "Downloads" or something similar.

Posted: 11 August 2010


Missing Level 2 (PBCD) IRAC subarray data

Time series observations of more than 8000 frames or observations taken in IRAC's subarray mode have no post-BCD data for the observation. More than 8000 frames cannot be combined by our online post-BCD pipeline. Data in IRAC subarray mode are not processed through the online post-BCD pipeline at all. The post-BCD pipeline was not designed to work with the three-dimensional data cubes that are the subarray BCDs. When the software was developed it was deemed unlikely that subarray observations would be used for anything other than photometry of single bright objects and mosaics would not be a desired product. As a result, post-BCD products (e.g., mosaics) are not available from the pipeline. Please see the following links for more information on how to use IRAC subarray data: http://ssc.spitzer.caltech.edu/files/spitzer/subarray_mosaic_memo.txt and http://ssc.spitzer.caltech.edu/dataanalysistools/tools/contributed/irac/subcubecollapse/

Posted: 11 August 2010


'Suspended' session

Sometimes, if there is a network hiccup (e.g., you pick up and move your laptop to a different wireless hub), the SHA can be left in a funny state, and does not continue to respond as it should. To avoid this, if you've accomplished a complex search that you want to continue working with or reproduce later, log in to the SHA and save or tag the search. That way, you can recover it easily with a single click the next time you log in.

Posted: 11 August 2010


Too many zip files

When downloading large quanties of data (big programs, whole campaigns, etc.), the SHA will break up the downloads into "manageable" pieces. If you don't want to click to download each piece, use the downloading script that is provided.

The Download Retrieval Script dialog gives you some options regarding which script you want to use. Generally speaking, the wget script is best for Linux and Unix users. The curl script is best for Mac users, because curl is part of the standard OS distribution; Mac users can also go retrieve and install wget and then use the wget scripts. For any of the scripts, you can also choose to include an option that unzips the zip files automatically.

Save the script to a plain text file, and invoke the script. You can copy and paste the script lines individually into your terminal window, or by typing "csh [yourtextfile]" at the prompt. The files will be automatically and sequentially downloaded to your disk, and if you've selected that option, unzipped as well.

Posted: 2 November 2010


"Dot files"

Using some combinations of browsers and unzipping software (not systematically reproducible) on Macs, the SHA may appear to have given you additional dot-underscore files with your data. We have researched three possible solutions:

  1. From http://www.macworld.com/article/132556/2008/04/geekfactor2504.html -- Those pesky dot-underscore files: If you've ever used a USB memory stick to move files to a Windows or Linux machine, or written files to a server that doesn't use the Mac's HFS file system, you're probably familiar with the "dot-underscore files" that are created when you do so; depending on what you did to the files and/or folders on the Mac, you will see any number of file names that begin with dot-underscore (._), followed by the names of the other folders on the disk. The Mac uses these files on its HFS disk, but they are useless on other systems.
    No More Dot-Underscore Files: Using a new Unix program in OS X 10.5, you can remove those pesky dot-underscore files from folders you copy to non-Mac systems. Prior to 10.5, you had to manually delete them on the other system, or use Terminal trickery to remove them on the Mac prior to copying. As of 10.5, though, you can just use the dot_clean command on the directory in question. Type dot_clean /path/folder to join the dot-underscore files with their parent files. Read OS X 10.5's manual pages (man dot_clean ) for more information.
  2. From http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1629 -- -- To configure a Mac OS X user account so that .DS_Store files are not created when interacting with a remote file server using the Finder, follow the steps below: Note: This will affect the user's interactions with SMB/CIFS, AFP, NFS, and WebDAV servers.
    • Open Terminal.
    • Execute this command: defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores true
    • Either restart the computer or log out and back in to the user account.
    If you want to prevent .DS_Store file creation for other users on the same computer, log in to each user account and perform the steps above, or distribute a copy of the newly modified com.apple.desktopservices.plist file to the ~/Library/Preferences folder of other user accounts.
  3. Download a program (for Mac) to delete these unwanted files automatically: http://www.zeroonetwenty.com/blueharvest4/

Posted: 10 December 2010


AOR footprint rendering hangs session

Sometimes, if you scroll through the list of search results too quickly (e.g., using the "down arrow" or "up arrow" keyboard keys) while the AOR Footprint tab is shown in the Details pane, the sequence of very rapid-fire requests to the server to get a background image and render the AOR footprint hangs your entire browser session. There's no known workaround, except to be sure that the AOR footprint tab (or the coverage tab) is not in the foreground when you rapidly scroll through the search results.

Posted: 8 February 2011


Overlay image is an all-sky image

For some searches, you can obtain a list of observations all over the sky. Some of the visualization tabs will then show you an all-sky image with the (tiny by comparison) overlays included. This is actually correct behavior -- it shows you information for all the items returned by your search, and it is trying to indicate that you do in fact have data all over the sky. Zoom in on the all-sky image, or redo the search to limit what is shown in the results window, or impose a filter to limit what is shown in the results window.

Posted: 3 Jan 2011


Strange behavior when requesting catalogs

Our catalog search options depend on other services, often other IRSA services, to search and display the catalogs. Sometimes these other services are down for maintenance or may be experiencing unusually heavy loads. On those occasions, the SHA user may get an "Unresponsive script" error or a "Call failed on the server" error. Please do let us know if you continue to get these errors; we may not be aware of an overloaded or down server.

Posted: 29 November 2010


Slow behavior when requesting large tables

When rendering long tables, the SHA can take several seconds to finish loading. For example, if you conduct a search returning 2000 AORs, and change the page size from 50 to 2000, the SHA will struggle for a few seconds trying to load the table. A message may appear to let you know that that is what is going on. Very long tables (e.g., the BCDs corresponding to those 2000 AORs, or a big catalog) will take longer. Use caution when searching catalogs (e.g., contributed enhanced products) with a large search radius, as it is surprisingly easy to get so many sources that the catalog retrieval may time out. Try searching over a smaller region.

Posted: 29 November 2010


QA comments seem out of date

Under the Details tab, you can obtain the last QA (Quality Analysis) comments tied to the data. The "last processed" date that may be given there does not necessarily correspond to the last time the data were really processed, but instead the last time that the QA comments were updated. To get the last date and time that the data were actually processed, you need to look at the headers of the BCDs.

Posted: 8 February 2011


Long AOR labels affect the text view

If the search results include some AORs that have labels longer than 30 characters, the "text view" of the search results may have mis-aligned columns.

Posted: 29 November 2010


Tabs and overlays can persist even when no data are displayed.

If you are viewing a tab in the Details pane from one view of the data, and then change the results tab to a different view of your search results, your current results tab persists even though it may no longer be relevant to the current view of the search results. There is no known workaround for this.

Posted: 26 November 2012


Strange behavior on Thursday mornings and/or near scheduled blocktimes.

Our regularly scheduled database maintenance occurs Thursday morning from 8-10 AM (Pacific Time). You may not be able to search, or you may get peculiar results. Try again after 10AM Pacific time. NEW Dec 2011: if you initiate a session close to a blocktime, it should warn you, or within 10 minutes of work if you are interactively working with a pre-existing SHA session.

Posted: 11 March 2010, updated 21 Dec 11


Depth of Coverage Maps Missing for a Small Fraction of AORs

The Depth of Coverage (DoC) maps are occasionally missing entirely for a very small fraction of AORs.

Posted: 3 Jan 2012, updated July 2015