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IRAF for the beginner

  1. Jul 19, 2013 #1
    I am an astrophysics student at the University of Louisville. Last semester, a third of the course was a brief introduction to reducing CCD data in IRAF and producing a spectral curve. An example was worked through in reducing hubble data of a galaxy that the professor had written a paper on. At the time, however, I did not have a laptop yet. I now have a laptop with Linux (fedora), and I am trying to piece together what we worked on and I am not getting too far.

    If you are familiar with IRAF, here is my current standing:

    I have been able to combine the zero and flat images and have produced a zerocombine.fits, flatcombine.fits, and something called a flatten.fits. I was able to work through the steps that he has in his notes through apflatten although I am not sure what that did.

    I have looked through user manuals and cookbooks on the subject online and get lost in the language. I am also having trouble understanding, in the list of files from the data he collected, what exaclty are the longslit spectra images are exactly.


    Does anyone have any examples, or know of any online, of someone working through CCD images, combining zero and darks, correcting the images they want to reduce the spectra of, and then reducing the spectra itself? Then maybe calibrating for wavelength?

    Would anyone be interested in communicating with me on maybe working out how to do that with either the example I am working on or one they might have?

    Are there any other good programs for doing this?

    Thanks a lot! I am really interested in developing some skills in IRAF.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2013 #2


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    Gold Member

    There are several manuals available to assist you with programming in IRAF; the one you will need will depend on the type of programming you expect to do. They are all available in the iraf/docs directory on the node iraf.noao.edu ( by anonymous FTP. The documents are compressed so be sure to declare binary before the transfer.

    1) scripts - An Introductory User's Guide to IRAF Scripts, revised by Rob Seaman, September 1989, 49 pages (script.ps.Z, script.pdf). A slide overview is also available.

    2) IMFORT - A User's Guide to Fortran Programming in IRAF: The IMFORT Interface, Doug Tody, September 1986, 29 pages [manual pages not included] (imfort.ps.Z).
    Specifying Pixel Directories with IMFORT, Doug Tody, June 1989, 1 page [short memo describing a modification to IMFORT] (imfortmem.ps.Z)

    3) SPP - An Introductory User's Guide to IRAF SPP Programming, Rob Seaman, October 1992, 76 pages (sppguide.ps.Z). The package of examples from the text is also available as is this slide overview.
    SPP Reference Manual, Zolt Levay, October 1992 - see the archives at ftp.stsci.edu in the software/stsdas/v1.3/doc/programmer/spp directory.

    4) There are many more older documents that may be referenced by the above that are also available. These are all listed in the TOC_vol3a.txt and TOC_vol3b.txt files in iraf/docs.
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