AstroPy: large astronomical python project

Andy Ptak ptak at astro.phys.cmu.edu
Mon Jun 28 14:11:05 CDT 1999


Hello,
I'm sorry if I already emailed this list about this, but I have decided to
use Python as the primary language for a fairly large project (funded by
an AISR grant) to automate the analysis of extra-galactic X-ray
observations.  The proposal was based on an IDL package I had put together
while in grad. school that concentrated mainly on ASCA data.  Part of the
selling point of the proposal was to convert these routines to a free
scripting language.  The project is early on at this point, but I have
started to wrap a C++ library for python using SWIG.  So far I have a fits
image handling class wrapped, and will later on be concentrating on other
astronomical types like events lists, spectra, responses, light curves,
etc.  I have also started to flesh out the overall structure of the
Python code (much of which produces scripts to drive software like
FTOOLS, XSPEC, etc).  If anyone has any advice, I'd be happy to hear it.
I'd like to have the system be easily driven from the command line, from
files for batch executions, from a GUI, and from a WWW page (given how
reluctant a lot of astronomers are at downloading and installing software,
I suspect the WWW interface will be the most important, at least 
initially).

Some more info is available at:
http://snooker.phys.cmu.edu/xassist

Cheers,
Andy Ptak

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