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fpack is a utility program for optimally compressing images in the FITS data format. The associated funpack program will restore the compressed file back to its original state. These programs may be run from the host operating system command line and are analogous to the gzip and gunzip utility programs, except that they are specifically optimized for FITS format images and offer a wider choice of compression options.
fpack uses the tiled image compression convention for storing the compressed images. This convention can in principle support any number of of different compression algorithms; currently GZIP, Rice, Hcompress, and the IRAF pixel list compression algorithms have been implemented.
The main advantages of fpack compared to the commonly used technique of externally compressing the whole FITS file with gzip are: