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Table 1

Significant milestones in the development of FITS.

Date Milestone Section

1979 Initial FITS Agreement and first interchange of files
1981 Published original (single HDU) definition (Wells et al. 1981)
1981 Published random groups definition (Greisen & Harten 1981) Sect. 6
1982 Formally endorsed by the IAU (IAU 1983)
1988 Defined rules for multiple extensions (Grosbøl et al. 1988)
1988 IAU FITS Working Group (IAUFWG) established
1988 Extended to include ASCII table extensions (Harten et al. 1988) Sect. 7.2
1988 Formal IAU approval of ASCII tables (IAU 1988) Sect. 7.2
1990 Extended to include IEEE floating-point data (Wells & Grosbøl 1990) Sect. 5.3
1994 Extended to multiple IMAGE array extensions (Ponz et al. 1994) Sect. 7.1
1995 Extended to binary table extensions (Cotton et al. 1995) Sect. 7.3
1997 Adopted 4-digit year date format (Bunclark & Rots 1997) Sect. 4.4.2
2002 Adopted conventions for world coordinate systems (Greisen & Calabretta 2002) Sect. 8
2002 Adopted conventions for celestial coordinates (Calabretta & Greisen 2002) Sect. 8.3
2004 Adopted MIME types for FITS data files (Allen & Wells 2005) App. G
2005 Extended to support variable-length arrays in binary tables Sect. 7.3.5
2005 Adopted conventions for spectral coordinate systems (Greisen et al. 2006) Sect. 8.4
2005 Extended to include 64-bit integer data type Sect. 5.2.4

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