[AstroPy] PyFITS 0.6.2 available

Andrew Williams andrew at physics.uwa.edu.au
Thu Feb 28 06:32:06 CST 2002

<x-charset iso-8859-1>On Thu, 28 Feb 2002 09:04:15 +0000 (GMT), Clive Page wrote:

>pcFITSIO (see http://www.stecf.org/~npirzkal/)?   It's nice to see that
>Python and FITS are so successful that there are two competing packages of
>bindings between them, but eventually the astronomical community may find
>that's one too many.

Three, actually, mine's not really 'competing' but it fills a small

If you want a pure Python interface to read and write simple FITS
headers, have a look at <http://www.physics.uwa.edu.au/~andrew/> for
FITS.py - if you have Numeric installed, you can read and write simple
(2 dimensional image) data in assorted data formats, otherwise it works
fine just as a way of reading and parsing headers (making them
available as a pair of dictionary attributes, 'headers' and

As far as I know, it's the only FITS interface that can deal with
(admittedly simple) FITS headers in a single pure python file, with no
extension packages needed. I wrote it because the code I was writing
was going to several remote sites, where the people who would be using
it had very little python knowledge, and no root access to the machines
to install non-standard packages.

I added the optional use of Numeric so that I could use it on my own
system as well, as part of our automated telescope/camera control
system - 'improc.py' on the same page demonstrates the sort of
preprocessing we do with it. I'm sure both of the other packages are
more flexible about data types and FITS format issues. 

>One basic question to which I could not find an answer in your web pages:
>does PyFITS use Bill Pence's cFITSIO library, or have you implemented all
>the required functionality independently?

>From the PDF docs, it seems to need only 'numarray'.


Dr Andrew Williams                              andrew at physics.uwa.edu.au
Perth Observatory,                            andrew at ucc.gu.uwa.edu.au
Walnut rd, Bickley, Western Australia.       andrew at longtable.org

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