Astronomical Software

Linked from this page is a growing collection of software packages that implement astronomical methods. Some are relevant to a wider audience as well. Each package stands separately from the others. Open-source licenses apply to all packages, and authors and copying rules are identified in each package. There is basic documentation in each package.

The packages are provided as a community service on an as-is basis. No support is provided nor are any guarrantees made for any of them. (And, as a scientist, you are responsible for the action of all software you use on your data anyway). However, most package authors would welcome a carefully assembled bug report if you do find a problem. Authors are identified in each package.

Some packages are provided in the IDL language. IDL is not an open-source language, but its array mathematics capability makes it very powerful for astronomical data analysis, so it is widely used. For a popular open-source alternative that is based on the Python language, see

Removal of Fringes From Images

"Defringeflat" uses a wavelet transform to identify and remove fringe patterns from images such as spectrograph flat fields. It is an IDL package.

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This package requires the file, written and maintained by Torrence and Compo. You can get the latest version from them, and read their paper to learn more about their routine and wavelets in general. The version we used to test our software is here.

Optimal Extraction of Array Spectra

"Optspecextr" uses optimal estimation to determine the spectrum of a point-source object, following Horne (1986, PASP 98:609-617) with some modifications. It is an IDL package.

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Synthetic Array Spectrum Frames

"Synthspec" produces mock data from a spectrograph. It is useful in testing spectral extraction routines. It is an IDL package.

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Mask-Based, Non-Linear Pixel Interpolation

"Maskinterp" repairs bad pixels in an image without using data from other bad pixels, even after they have been fixed. It fits a non-linear surface to good pixels surrounding each marked bad pixel, and increases the number of good pixels included in the fit based on user-controllable criteria with reasonable defaults. It is an IDL package.

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The software disseminated here was written in part under the support of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation.

As you may know, the IDL Astronomy Library lost its funding a few years ago. If you do end up using this software to any significant degree, we'd appreciate (but do not require) your saying so in the acknowledgements to papers, and sending us copies. This will help us support an eventual proposal to support once again the independent production of astronomical application software.

Last revised: 2006 April 10 - J. Harrington