My laptop officially has a working copy of IRAF! Ok, so it isn’t pretty, or particularly easy to use, but it’s pretty much essential for looking at stellar spectra. So now I can do data reduction and analysis from the comfort of my own home. Or wherever else I feel like working.

Actually, this might seem like a small achievement, but it’s a notoriously difficult thing to set up on most computers — mainly because it’s an antiquated piece of unix software. So I’m quite proud of actually succeeding!

In other news I’ve also managed to set up g77 (Fortran compiler… meh) and LaTeX, so my computer is fully kitted out! How cool is that?

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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9 Responses to IRAF!

  1. stargzr_htn says:

    I’m not a command line wiz either, but I learned a lot fooling with PHOEBE over the last few months. It depends on how many external libraries are needed (glade, pkg-config, etc.). On my to-do list.

  2. invaderxan says:

    Heh heh heh… See, I figured I’m going to need to if I ever get the chance to use Gemini or any of the others — so I thought I should probably just bite the bullet. ;)
    It’s not that bad really… Even if it does look all retro and ’80s!

  3. invaderxan says:

    You’re using a mac? What OS version are you using? :)
    My laptop’s a Powerbook G4 running OS X 10.4.11 and in hindsight, the only major snags were because I’ve never really had to install anything using the Terminal before. That, and confusingly IRAF decided to create two files (which need to be edited manually to make sure it knows to use xgterm and .fits files).
    There’s a website — — which has some detailed and very helpful instructions on how to install and run IRAF. It’s a bit fiddly and long winded, but it should do the job.
    If you know your way around a Linux terminal, you might find it a lot easier than I did! :)

  4. invaderxan says:

    You see, I’m still at the puzzled look/calculator stage. I could tell what ball park a wavenumber’s in (NIR, NUV or whatever), but I’d have no idea exactly what the wavelength was! At least not yet… :)

  5. davidnm says:

    IRAF … I have a horror of IRAF. So far I’ve managed to avoid absolutely having to use it…

  6. stargzr_htn says:

    Did you run into any big snags? See … I’m running AIP4Win on Windows through Parallel Desktops on a Mac & the Mac doesn’t like it very much. I’m thinking the best alternative is to face up to loading & learning IRAF.

  7. Interesting… I’ll have to inquire with my astrophysics friends about this… :)
    When you are working in the MIR and NIR as often as I am, and more specifically in pharmaceutical type applications, wavenumbers is norm. Although more recently with my plankton project, I’ve been using wavelength more often…which confuses my younger grad student partner who’s not quite got the hang of switching between the two without the use of a calculator. After nearly 5 years of converting between the two, you know what unit is what mentally. :D

  8. invaderxan says:

    lol! Yeah, a lot of astronomy texts still use angstroms. Things like interstellar absorption bands, for instance, are often quoted in angstroms. And to be honest, I don’t like working in wavenumbers. :P
    To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what data reduction it does. ;)
    So far I’ve only used it to analyse data that’s already been reduced and corrected. Learning how to use it properly’s going to be a lot easier now I have my own copy though. Now all I need to do is get some telescope time…

  9. Angstroms!? You’re working in angstroms with spectra? That’s a bit odd. :P I guess I’m so used to working in either nm or cm-1 … I usually reserve angstroms’ mentally for bond lengths.
    What sort of data reduction does IRAF do?

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