I'm trying to use model atmospheres such as Kurucz or MARCS for the first time personally and I'm wondering if it is better to wrap it with IDL or Python in terms of writing the code, and getting the values I wanted from the model atmospheres into arrays for printing into tables.

Essentially is it better to approach this issue using IDL or with Python, or is it just more of a preferential thing if anything?

  • $\begingroup$ I cannot give a practical answer to this question, since I have not worked in your exact situation, but I would be inclined to suggest Python because it has a large userbase and excellent support, see ncra.tifr.res.in:8081/~yogesh/python2014/whypython.pdf $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ @called2voyage I'm leaning more towards Python since I'm more experienced with it, however the individual ways each language tackles utilizing FORTRAN is different in complexity and approach and that's more towards what I'm getting at. Maybe I should edit the question. $\endgroup$
    – Ceddrick
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, that is a good idea. Otherwise, even from those who have been in a situation where they can compare, their comparison may not address your situation. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 18:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @JoeBlow If you want to write code that does stuff fast, you write it in a compiled language like fortran or C. $\endgroup$
    – ProfRob
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 22:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JoeBlow MARCS is from 2008, as far as I can see. Kurucz was founded in around 1979 but has been updated frequently since. And as Rob Jeffries says, Fortran is still one of the absolutely best solutions there is for heavy number crunching. The language was last updated in 2010, with another update planned for 2018. $\endgroup$
    – Thriveth
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 22:21

1 Answer 1


After looking into the various wrappers and ways Python and IDL work with FORTRAN I came to the conclusion that it is more of a preference which language you use. However as people continuously add astronomy support to Python this may change, but as of now, it seems to be a question of preference.

  • $\begingroup$ I assume you know that you can use the CALL_EXTERNAL.PRO routine in IDL to call pre-compiled Fortran routines (as shared object libraries). $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 12:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .