Program Interfaces

IRSA offers program-friendly interfaces to all of its holdings. Through an Application Program Interface (API), users can access IRSA data directly (within a script or on the command line) without the need to go through interactive web-based user interfaces. Each API is a set of programming instructions for accessing one of IRSA's services. These APIs allow users to write software that can talk to IRSA's software to carry out queries and download data, with no user intervention.

The Virtual Observatory (VO) is a set of data services that all follow a set of standard API rules agreed upon by the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA). All of IRSA's images and catalogs are available through the VO. We also provide APIs that allow more complex functionality but are not compliant with the VO standard.

The program interface involves constructing URL queries. The commands wget and curl are commonly used for automating these queries, so API users may wish to begin by installing one of these packages. The IDL astro library also includes a routine to query IRSA catalogs through IDL:

Follow the appropriate link below to find the API instructions best suited to your goals.