Technical Matters

My astronomical software

GNU Astronomy Utilities
GNU Astronomy Utilities (Gnuastro) is a new collection of utilities (and soon installable libraries) to analyze and manipulate astronomical data. It comes with a very complete manual and is highly customizable.

Outdated programs
Gnuastro wasn't created from nothing! While I started my astronomical research, I had to write small programs and libraries (not installed) which you can find in Github (still kept for historical reasons!). The main public program of that era was MockGals. It was a tool to make mock galaxies and stars in an image. I actually made it to test detection methods in parallel with what ultimately became NoiseChisel (in Gnuastro).


GNU/Linux operating system
Most scientific software can only be run in GNU/Linux.

After fresh GNU/Linux install
I like to install my GNU/Linux with the minimum amount of extra programs and then fill it up after installation with the most recent versions of the programs I like. In this webpage I have explained how to install the programs I use most often, which are probably shared by a lot of other GNU/Linux users. In short it is my To-Do list after a fresh GNU/Linux install.

Converting to autoconf and automake
When you begin to write programs, they will be small, but as your program becomes larger and its dependencies increase, it becomes harder to manage. Also you will probably want to give it to others to use. GNU autoconf GNU automake are desiged to help you easily manage complex source file relations and also help in the distribution and dependency checking.


Standard Astronomical Software
Images produced by astronomical CCDs are in FITS format, there are lots of programs to manipulate these images, here I am introducing how to install three of them; IRAF, FITSIO Library & SExtractor.

Installing cfitsio and wcslib
In case you want to delve into the pixels of astronomical images in C, you will need the cfitsio and wcslib. C is the lowest level (fundamental), high level (easy to use, hardware independant) programming language!

Installing IRAF
Image Reduction and Analysis Facility (IRAF) is one of the mostly used software packages used for image processing in Astronomy. I have devoted a separate page to this software package and how you can instal it.

Installing SExtractor
Source Extractor or in brief SExtractor is a very valuable software package to define and find galaxy parameters in images with a large number of galaxies. The method to install it on a linux system is explained here.

Notes on SExtractor
Some notes I thought might help a first time user of SExtractor are explained in this page.

Installing Atlas
Atlas (Automatically Tuned Linear Algebra Software) is a package used in high-performance scientific applications. Most astronomers will need it when they install SExtractor. In this page I explain in detail how I installed it.


Updated on December 12th, 2015.
Created on May 16th, 2011.

Tohoku University Astronomical Institute, 6-3 Aramaki, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Japan, 980-8578
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