seleste Homepage

seleste GUI User's Guide


Welcome to seleste! This program will allow you to explore astronomical services, create meaningful queries, and manage multiple jobs across services.

seleste is a Java application launched using Java Web Start technology. If you are having trouble launching seleste, try reading about installation or reading the troubleshooting guide.

When you first begin using seleste, you will be in the Guide mode which will guide you through building a query step by step. You should come back to this document for additional details not provided in the Guide.

Main Window

When using seleste, the main window is used to select your service, build a query, and submit your query as a job to the server.

1. Selecting a Service

A Table Access Protocal (TAP) service is one which allows client programs (such as seleste) to browse its table structure and to run queries on those tables. When you click on the Services button, you will see an alphabetical list of known TAP services for you to choose from.

If you know of another TAP service not in the list, you can type in the main URL of the service by using the add button in the upper right of the Service Selection dialog.

You can be in one of three views: Form, ADQL, or Guide. All information is preserved between Form and Guide views and when switching into ADQL view. However, if you use the ADQL view to type in a query you will not be able view it in the Form or Guide views.

You can only work on building one query at a time in one service. When you switch between services on the Form or Guide view, seleste will attempt to preserve as much of your query as it can between services, including any uploaded files.

2. Uploading a Table

Some TAP services allow you form a query combining tables in the service with a table you choose. After you select your service, you can tell if uploading is available if the "Upload" button is clickable.

You can upload either a local file, a received table, or a completed job. You can only have one uploaded table at a time.

After you have uploaded your table, you can examine the columns by double clicking "TAP_UPLOAD.user_table" in the Contents section. After you add columns from your uploaded table to the Output Columns, you may want to create a Table Join. (Use the Guide view for more information on adding Table Joins.)

3. Using the ADQL view

ADQL is a query language very similar to SQL. If you are new to ADQL, you may want to try building queries in the Form view then switch to ADQL view to examine how that query looks in ADQL. Alternatively, you can save your query from any view and see your view as it will appear in ADQL.

You should use the ADQL view if you need more query functionality than is provided by the form.

For more information on ADQL, VOTable or SAMP, see the following:

Building Column Criteria

When you add the first column to the Column Criteria, the row will look like the following equation:

( Column1 = _______________ )

Each element in the column criteria is clickable, but some drop-down lists may be determined by the column's datatype. To see the column's datatype, select the row and review the information provided in the bottom window.

1. Applying a Function

When you click on the column name in the Column Criteria you may see a list of functions that can be applied to that column on the left side of the equation.

If the column is of datatype "real" or "double", the available options are as follows:

If the column is of datatype "smallint", "integer", or "bigint", the available functions are abs, log, log10, exp, sqrt, and power.

Other datatypes do not have associated set of functions built into seleste.

2. Changing the Operator

When you click on the equals sign in the Column Criteria you will see a list of possible operators that can be applied to the column.

The available operators are as follows:

3. Entering a Value

Most operators require a value. (The only ones which don't are NULL and NOT NULL.) You can enter a value for a criterion by clicking to the right of the operator and typing in text.

Some operators require a specific format for a value:

You do not need to add quotes around the value for datatypes "char", "varchar", or "timestamp". seleste will add quotes automatically when converting the query to ADQL. You can not include single quotes in the middle of your value.

If the column is of type "timestamp", the value must be in the standard FITS date format "yyyy-MM-ddTHH:mm:ss" (e.g. 1997-07-16T19:20:15).

If the columns is equatorial RA or DEC (if its UCD value contains "pos.eq.ra" or "pos.eq.dec"), you may put your value in sexagesimal format. Some examples:

You may need to use decimal format if the selected service did not provide UCDs for its columns.

You can always click on the ADQL button to preview how seleste will convert your search criteria into ADQL.

4. Changing ANDs, ORs, and Parentheses

You may want to create a query more complex than a series of ANDs:

 (C1) AND (C2) AND (C3)

For example:

 (((C1) OR (C2)) AND ((C3) OR (C4))) AND (C5))

Use the parentheses and the AND/OR dropdowns in the Column Criteria to create your query. If you require more than four parentheses in the query, you may need to switch to ADQL.

5. Switching to ADQL for Complex Queries

For the most flexibility in designing your query, you can switch to ADQL by clicking the ADQL button at the top of the page. (Note that any changes made to the query on this view will not be reflected in the Form or Guide view.) We suggest you use the Form view as much as possible and only switch to ADQL to build advanced queries.

See the ADQL documentation for a list of all possible functions available in ADQL.

5.1. Conversion of Criteria in ADQL.

The following changes are automatically performed to a Column Criteria row when converted to ADQL:

6. Pattern Matching for LIKE

When using "LIKE" on string values, you can use the following characters for pattern matching:


Adding a Position Search

Many of the Services support the ability to perform a position search. (If not, the Position Search area will be greyed out.) In general, you choose the table you want to search, select the type of position search, choose the columns from the table you want to search on, then enter the values for the search.

1. Choosing the Table

The dropdown list in the upper right of the Position Search window contains all the tables you have added so far to the query. (If you do not see the table you wish to use, try adding a column from the table to the Output Columns.) We determine that the table has has an identifiable position if any of the following are true:

2. Selecting Position Search Type

Once you have selected a table with an identifiable position, you must choose the type of position search:

For the last three types you can choose whether you want that shape to contain, intersect, or be contained in the selected columns.


2.1. Selecting Columns for Position Search

If the table you chose has several potential positions, you will have to select which column or columns you would like to search on.

Select the left-most dropdown column first. This can be a Point, a Region, or a Longitude value. If you select Point or Region, there will not be a second column to choose.

If you select a Longitude value, you will be presented with a second dropdown list for Latitude. seleste tries to only show columns with matching coordinate systems. (I.e., both equatorial or both galactic.)

3. Selecting the Search Values

For position search type Region you need to type in your search region in STC-S format. (I.e., "Box CARTESIAN 2.5 3.75 5 6".) For all other types you must specify the center/point.

For most cases you probably want to use a target name or coordinate. For a target name, you need to enter the Name and choose the name resolver for conversion into coordinates. For coordinates, you can type in the RA/Gal_l and Dec/Gal_b either as decimal values or in sexagesimal format.

For Circle searches you must select a radius for the circle. For Box searches you must select a width and height of the rectangle.

If you want to vary your point/center based on another table, select "Other table", then select the columns on this other table to use as the center.

If ever you want to review the ADQL generated by the Position Search, press the ADQL button.

3.1. Example: Using Position Search for a Simple Cross-Match

Imagine you have two tables in your service, both with columns "ra" and "dec". Here's how you would use the Position Search to cross correlate the two tables.

This will create a search for all entries where the first table's ra/dec is within the radius R of the second table's ra/dec.

Managing Jobs

1. Managing Jobs

When you submit a query to a service, that service keeps track of that query as a "Job", assigning it a unique "Job ID". seleste will monitor the job on the service automatically. You can look at the "Status" column at any time to see the current state of that job. Possible values are:

Jobs may not remain on the service for very long. You may find after several days of using seleste that previously run jobs are in the status Unavailable; this indicates that the service has removed the job. You can view the Destruction parameter to see when a job is scheduled to be removed.

The toolbar contains the following actions to help you manage jobs:

2. Job Parameters

Each job has a set of parameters that describes what it is and how the job is to be run on the service. Not all parameters have meaningful values on all services. If the parameter has a white background you can change its value. The background color changes to yellow if you have a pending change. Hit the Update button to send the changes to the service.

Here is the list of parameters for a job:

3. Further Information

For further information on jobs, see the following specifications:


For your first time installing seleste on a Linux machine, you may need to teach your browser what to do with a JNLP file. For example, Firefox users will see this dialog:

You should do the following.

  1. The Java Web Start application ("javaws") is used to run seleste. Find your copy on your machine using the following command in a terminal window:

      which javaws

    If you do not have javaws in your path, you may need to ask your systems administrators to install the latest version of java on your machine.

  2. In the dialog, select "Open with" and hit the "Browse..." button. Navigate to or type in the path for "javaws".

  3. Select "Do this automatically for files like this from now on" and hit the "OK" button.
For non-Firefox users, you can use the browsers's preferences to set up the association between JNLP files and "javaws" or ask your system administrator for assistance.


Troubleshooting Java Web Start

Check Java Version

The seleste application requires Java 1.6 or higher to be installed on your machine. To check your version of Java, run the following command:

 java -version

If the version of Java is less than 1.6 you will need to install the latest version from:

After the latest version of Java is installed, try launching seleste again.

Mac OS X

If you have the latest version of Java, you might try browsing through Java Preferences. Click on the desktop (so "Finder" appears in the upper left) and select Go->Utilities from the menu. Double click on "Java Preferences".

Under the General tab, make sure "Java SE 6" is turned on (checked) with the correct CPU-type for your machine. Also, be sure "Enable applet plug-in and Web Start applications" is checked. Under the Advanced tab you can try turning on the console to see if any errors are displayed when launching seleste.

Mountain Lion users also may have to specifically allow access to seleste. To do so, go to System Preferences and select "Security & Privacy." Then, under the General tab, change "Allow applications downloaded from:" to "Anywhere."

Linux/UNIX machines

Your browser may not know what to do with a Java Web Start file (MIME type: "application/x-java-jnlp-file"). If so, you can set up the association as follows.

First, find the location of the Java 1.6 or later version of Java Web Start.

 which javaws

This program should be in the same directory as java.

Next, you need to set up your browser to run this program when it finds a Java Web Start file.

For Mozilla-based browsers, edit preferences and click on the Application tab. Search the list for content type "Java Web Start", click on the action drop down and select "Use other...". Select the Java 1.6 or later version of "javaws" and click "Open".

For other browsers, you may need to research how to configure the browser to recognize the Java Web Start type.

When the above attempts fails...

You can run seleste through the command line:


Other Guides

Here are other guides for troubleshooting Java Web Start on your machine:

Troubleshooting Launching

Internal database unavailable

If you see a dialog which says "The internal database is unavailable.", seleste thinks that you have another session of seleste running on your machine. You can still run seleste, but it will not remember which jobs or services you add (nor will it recall which you added before).

The lock file used to determine if another session is running is in the directory .seleste under your home directory.