[SciPy-User] Co-ordinating Python astronomy libraries?

James Turner jturner@gemini....
Wed Jun 30 16:48:23 CDT 2010

Dear Python users in astronomy,

At SciPy 2009, I arranged an astronomy BoF where we discussed the
fact that there are now a number of astronomy libraries for Python
floating around and maybe it would be good to collect more code into
a single place. People seemed receptive to this idea and weren't sure
why it hasn't already happened, given that there has been an Astrolib
page at SciPy for some years now, with an associated SVN repository:


After the meeting last August, I was supposed to contact the mailing
list and some library authors I had talked to previously, to discuss
this further. My apologies for taking 10 months to do that! I did
draft an email the day after the BoF, but then we ran into a hurdle
with setting up new committers to the AstroLib repository (which has
taken a lot longer than expected to resolve), so it seemed a bad
time to suggest that new people start using it.

To discuss these issues further, we'd like to encourage everyone to
sign up for the AstroPy mailing list if you are not already on it.
The traffic is just a few messages per month.


We (the 2009 BoF group) would also like to hear on the list about
why people have decided to host their own astronomy library (eg. not
being aware of the one at SciPy). Are you interested in contributing
to Astrolib? Do you have any other comments or concerns about
co-ordinating tools? Our motivation is to make libraries easy to
find and install, allow sharing code easily, help rationalize
available functionality and fill in what's missing. A standard
astronomy library with a single set of documentation should be more
coherent and easier to maintain. The idea is not to limit authors'
flexibility of take ownership of their code -- the sub-packages
can still be maintained by different people.

If you're at SciPy this week, Perry Greenfield and I would be happy
to talk to you. If you would like to add your existing library to
Astrolib, please contact Perry Greenfield or Mark Sienkiewicz at
STScI for access (contact details at http://scipy.org/AstroLib).
Note that the repository is being moved to a new server this week,
after which the URLs will be updated at scipy.org.


James Turner (Gemini).

Bcc: various library authors

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