Peter Erwin: Astronomical Software

Astronomical Software


A new 2D image-fitting program, for use in modeling galaxies (and other astronomical objects), designed to be fast and easily extensible.

See here for more information and to download the program.


Some simple Python code for reading, analyzing, and plotting galaxy isophote ellipse fits (as generated by the IRAF task "ellipse"); this may eventually evolve into an affiliated package for Astropy.

This is currently available via Github, here.


This is a Python command-line program for searching multiple public telescope archives. It takes the name of an astronomical object -- or a set of coordinates -- and checks the telescope archives to see if they have observations within a user-specified box centered on the object/coordinates.

It does not retrieve any of the data, or provide a detailed listing of the available data [but see fetchsdss below]; you need to visit the individual archive sites for that. Its main purpose is to make it easier to find out whether there are any publically available data out there for a given object, or for a given position on the sky. It can tell you how many observations meeting the search criteria are available at each archive; for most archives, a short summary of the types of observations (e.g., instruments used) is given.

An example (slightly reformatted):

$ telarchive "ngc 7027" 2.0
	SIMBAD (Simbad 4, France):  Found object coordinates: RA = 21 07 01.593, Dec = +42 14 10.18

Searching archives for ngc 7027 (RA = 21 07 01.8, dec = +42 14 10), with search box =  2.0 arcmin...
	ESO Archive: Data exists! (2 observations found)
		2 spectra
	AAT Archive: No data found.
	HST archive: Data exists! (109 records found)
		13 FOS, 3 FOC, 25 WFPC, 18 WFPC2, 26 NICMOS, 24 STIS
	Multimission Archive at STScI (MAST): Data exists! (37 observations found)
		COPERNICUS (1); FUSE (2); IUE (34)
	Spitzer archive: Data exists! (13 records found)
		1 mipssed, 2 iracmap, 3 mipsphot, 7 irsstare
	Sloan Digital Sky Survey (DR7+DR12): No data found.
	UKIRT Archive: Data exists! (259 observations found)
		UFTI (51), Michelle (208)
	CFHT Archive: Data exists! (419 observations found)
		GECKO (4), GRIF (48), BEAR (361), aobir (6)
	Gemini Observatory Archive: Data exists! (250 observations found)
		160 LS, 45 imaging, 45 IFS
		michelle (7), NIRI (198), GMOS-N (45)
	SMOKA (Subaru Mitaka Okayama Kiso Archive): No data found.
	ING Archive (La Palma): Data exists! (893 observations found)
		595 images, 298 spectra
		WHT -- ISIS (217), WHIRCAM (6), TAURUS (5), LIRIS (573), LDSS (4), UES (69); 
		INT -- WFC (13), IDS (5); JKT -- JAG (1)

More details and some sample outputs can be found in the README file.

Download: telarchive-1.8.3.tar.gz.

You can also download telarchive from the Python Package Index (PyPI), or install it using pip:
$ pip install telarchive


Archives currently searched:

The code for searching individual archives is (mostly) modular, which should make it easier for people familiar with Python to add searches for new or private archives, as long as they have interfaces and outputs reasonably similar in format to the existing archives.


Included in the telarchive distribution is a separate program called "fetchsdss," which is specialized for retrieving FITS or JPEG images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (Data Release 7 and Data Release 12); included is an auxiliary script called "" which can retrieve FITS spectra from SDSS DR12. This uses some of the same underlying software as telarchive, and is automatically installed as part of the telarchive package. See the file README_fetchsdss.txt for more information.

If you're only interested in searching (and possibly retrieving data from) SDSS, then fetchsdss can also be installed as a smaller package by itself.

Download: fetchsdss-1.2.4.tar.gz.

Telarchive and fetchsdss are open source software, released under the Gnu Public License.

If you have found either of these programs particularly useful in your research, acknowledgment would be appreciated, but is not required.