Software Available for Kuiper Belt Data Reduction, Analysis, and Modeling
Please note that the people who wrote the software listed under the ``Public Programs'' section are generously providing their
code as a community service, and most likely do not intend to spend excessive
time helping users learn to use the programs.
However, the General software packages do provide quite
a bit of documentation as well as various levels of user support.
If you do use any of this software in published research, please remember
to acknowledge those who wrote the code.
- Jenni Virtanen (firstname.lastname@example.org
offers TNOEPH, code for calculating ephemerides, particularly for NTOs
with short arcs. The online calculator can be found at: http://asteroid.lowell.edu/cgi-bin/virtanen/tnoeph
- Gary Bernstein (email@example.com) has made available software for fitting orbits to KBOs. The code is available at:
- Philippe Rousselot (firstname.lastname@example.org) has written MIDAS-based programs designed for automatic detection of
TNOs. For more information go to: http://www.obs-besancon.fr/www/publi/philippe/tno.html.
- Joel Parker (email@example.com) has written IRAF scripts that do sub-arcsecond astrometry on digital
images. These tasks are relatively automated. They use the USNO A2.0 catalog
to establish a World Coordinate System (WCS), put the WCS information in the
image header, allow the user to use the IRAF task IMEXAM to get coordinates and
magnitudes of objects on the images and put that information in the header as
- Marc Buie (firstname.lastname@example.org) has
written an extensive library of IDL routines to perform CCD
reductions, object finding, astrometry, photometry, spectroscopy, statistics,
etc. For more information go to: http://www.lowell.edu/users/buie/idl
- There are a couple other places to get Astronomy-related IDL programs:
- The IDL
Astronomy User's Libray (from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center).
- The JHU/APL/S1R
Library (from The Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics
Laboratory) has many useful utility programs, though not necessarily
specific to astronomy.
- Hal Levison (email@example.com) and Martin Duncan
have written a solar system integration software package called SWIFT. It is
designed to integrate a set of mutually gravitationally interacting bodies
together with a group of test particles which feel the gravitational influence
of the massive bodies but do not affect each other or the massive bodies.
SWIFT is written in fairly transportable FORTRAN. For more information go to:
- Peter Stetson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
is the creator of the excellent and widely used photometry program DAOPHOT.
This program does multiple-star PSF-fitting photometry. Although its
advantage over standard aperture photometry is primarily in the case of crowded
fields, I have found that PSF-fitting does a much better job at bad pixel
rejection and background accomdation than most aperture photometry programs.
articles for more information about DAOPHOT. An older version of DAOPHOT
is available in IRAF. However, it uses file formats not consistent with
Stetson's version, so the user will have to decide which version is
preferable and stick with it.
- Andras Pal (email@example.com) provides the open-source software package FITSH, which is a set of independent binary programs (tasks) that are designed for execution from a UNIX command line shell or shell script. Each of these tasks performs a specific operation (e.g. transforming an image to another reference frame, search and identifiy stars or other point-like sources, do photometry, transform/display a FITS image to a popular graphics format, ...). See also the MNRAS paper.
- IRAF (the Image Reduction and Analysis
Facility) is a freely-available general-use suite of software that is
extensively used in many areas of study in observational astronomy. It
includes tasks for CCD reductions, astrometry, photometry, plotting, data
- ESO-MIDAS (Munich
Image Data Analysis System) is another freely-available general-use suite of
software that provides general tools for image processing and data reduction
with emphasis on astronomical applications. In addition it contains
applications packages for stellar and surface photometry, image sharpening and
decomposition, statistics, etc.
- IDL (Interactive Data Language)
is a commercial product created by Exelis. It is a
programming language that is optimized for handling vector and array data, and
has many image-processing routines. As an interpretive language, I find it
very easy to debug and to use in command-line mode for quick-look analysis of
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