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The IRAF package is old.

I've been looking around for a more modern software to replace it in the processes of CCD data reduction and photometry, but haven't been able to find any.

The closest I've found is the PyRAF tool, but this seems more like a Python wrapper around IRAF rather than a replacement for it.

Is there some new software I might've miss or is IRAF really the only option even today?


Add:

I forgot to mention this, but I'm looking for tools that work under Linux and are free (open source + no charge), if possible. I will not pay (neither for a Windows license nor for a software package) to get rid of IRAF.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not an observational astronomer, but from what I've heard from my colleagues, PyRAF is the way to go. Pretty much all the standard photometry routines are written in IRAF or PyRAF so you'll be doing yourself a favor by sticking to them. $\endgroup$ – J. O'Brien Antognini Jul 7 '16 at 23:21
  • $\begingroup$ That's what I feared. It's amazing to think that no one has come up yet with something to replace IRAF. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Jul 7 '16 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ It's sad, but no one really has an incentive to develop software. I forgot to mention that the AstroPy package has handling for FITS files. But I think that PyRAF still has a more comprehensive library of image reduction routines. Still, you should skim the AstroPy documentation to see if it would be useful to you. $\endgroup$ – J. O'Brien Antognini Jul 7 '16 at 23:59
  • $\begingroup$ Why should someone come up with something to replace IRAF? It works. Don't fix what isn't broken. I will admit though that IRAF is a pain in the a$$ to use and prone to not working at the slightest mistake on your part, which is where PyRAF comes in. It should be simpler and easier to use than IRAF directly, while still providing the same functionality as IRAF. Besides, astronomers tend to be people doing long-term studies over years or decades. They're not the type to switch their analysis method easily. $\endgroup$ – zephyr Jul 8 '16 at 13:49
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    $\begingroup$ It works because people keep taking the time to work around it, precisely because there is nothing to replace it. Example: "Many of the IRAF tasks that we include with AstroConda are so old that they cannot be compiled as 64-bit executables without significant changes to the source code". $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Jul 8 '16 at 14:36
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I suspect that everything you want and more is available and written in python or has python wrappers.

Astropy ccdproc photutils

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you Rob! Those are the same packages I found today when looking for something to replace IRAF. As far as I understand the ccdproc package takes care of the reduction part (bias, flat, dark, etc), and the photutils package does the photometry. Do you happen to know if photutils can handle assigning absolute magnitudes (ie: using standard stars), combining frames with different exposures, and cross-matching several filters? I ususally work with crowded frames (star clusters) and this is the procedure needed. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Jul 9 '16 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ I also found the THELI tool (Schirmer 2013). Have you heard of it? I think it can also handle the reduction+photometry process. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Jul 9 '16 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Gabriel Sorry, I am not a big user of photometry packages - and I use IRAF! What clusters are you analysing - globulars? $\endgroup$ – Rob Jeffries Jul 9 '16 at 0:48
  • $\begingroup$ Mostly open clusters, so not that crowded. Thanks Rob, I think your answer is the closest one to what I asked anyway. I'll wait a day or two just in case, and if no better question is given, I'll mark yours as accepted. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Jul 9 '16 at 1:04
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    $\begingroup$ An ill-spent youth @Gabriel aanda.org/component/… $\endgroup$ – Rob Jeffries Jul 9 '16 at 2:26
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I am having the same issue too. Been considering using Python with Numpy, SciPy, and Astropy, supplement that with GNU Octave and PyRAF. I heard some younger students would opt for the proprietary MATLAB in lieu of GNU Octave. My supervisor belongs to the older generation so I will have to also learn IRAF to effectively communicate with him. Some calibration scientist recommended me to use the Herschel Interactive Processing Environment (HIPE), which has been developed for the ESA Herschel pipelines (like PACS and SPIRE) in mind and uses Jython (a hybrid of Python and Java). But I am learning to use that too, before either I become proficient in Python or developed some software with a proper GUI of my own...

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  • $\begingroup$ IDL has been suggested as an option to me as well. But I would need a license to use it. Other options detailed on this AstroBites webpage: astrobites.org/guides/guide-to-astrophysical-software If you are a theorist, Mathematica might be a good option for handling higher-level conceptual stuff. But if you are an observational astrophysicist, then MATLAB or GNU Octave are better at handling a large quantity of data. $\endgroup$ – Lame Duck Dec 28 '17 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ Also, A.I.P. has developed a software for fibre-fed integral field spectrograph called p3d, with official website at: p3d.sourceforge.net/index.php?page=about $\endgroup$ – Lame Duck Dec 29 '17 at 15:18
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AIP4Win has a comprehensive photometry package, also I believe MaximDL (though more expensive) has some as well.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. I forgot to mention I work with Linux, but that was my mistake. This tool (only works on Windows) appears to only be able to take on the reducing part, not the CCD photometry. Am I right? $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Jul 8 '16 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ They are both Windows only, but both will reduce and do photometry. $\endgroup$ – James Screech Jul 8 '16 at 15:00
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There is an AstroImageJ. Available on windows, mac, and linux https://www.astro.louisville.edu/software/astroimagej/

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