[AstroPy] Co-ordinating Python astronomy libraries?

James Turner jturner@gemini....
Thu Jul 15 11:40:08 CDT 2010

Hi Wolfgang,

> I have read this once or twice already: I think there's a need for 
> common base classes so that we can use these new python libraries 
> together. This is very important especially now that this python 
> astronomy library starts to take shape.

Classes and data structures seem to be another common theme in this
thread that probably deserve more discussion. A few people have
mentioned time and co-ordinates. I was wondering whether Anne or
someone else has been following the NumPy datetime discussion and
whether that's at all relevant (since I know she is more active on
that list than I am)?

> The next thing is a 2D image class and I read from James's email
> that there's AstroData in preparation at Gemini. Is there any
> release  ETA on AstroData?

It was very close, with the documentation just being tidied up
before a first internal "release". I don't know exactly when
Kathleen will be comfortable doing a public release, but I can check.
It would be good to get it out sooner rather than later.

> With pyspec I have a prototype for a 1D spectrum and echelle class. It 
> can easily read spectra in a column seperated format: 
> data=spectrum('myspec.dat'). You can easily slice spectra: 
> data2=data[4000.:4050.] (if you give it a float for slicing it will use 
> the wavelength instead of the array index). You can do arithmetic with 
> spectra and it does a simple linear interpolate on the second spectrum 
> to match the wavelength grid of the first: data3=data1/data2.

That sounds convenient. Apparently several people/groups are working
on these kinds of high-level objects and some standardization may
indeed be helpful, otherwise I'll be using AstroData for part of my
processing and then find I need to pick apart my object to construct
your 1D spectrum from pyspec, then do something different again from
Astropysics or PyEphem and so on. A few standard classes would
probably help significantly in providing a good focal point.

> I'm really excited about all these developments and hope that they will 
> be a big improvement for astronomy.

Yes, I hope several projects are ready to come together to make a
nice new platform for astronomy, after STScI and the SciPy people
have figured out the basics for us.



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