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2. Software

Software Section

2.1. Collections

Here are some links to collections and other indexes of Linux astronomy software.

If the above does not appeal to your needs, these links may help:

2.2. Planetarium Programs

Here is discussion of programs which run on Linux for use in finding objects, natural and man-made, in the sky.

  • XEphem has been the pet project of one of us (Downey) for the past twenty-odd years. It has grown to become one of the more capable interactive tools for the computation of astronomical ephemerides.

  • XSky is by Terry R. Friedrichsen, terry@venus.sunquest.com. XSky is essentially an interactive sky atlas.

  • KStars is a Desktop Planetarium for KDE.

  • Skymap is an astronomical mapping program written in Fortran and C for Unix workstations by Doug Mink of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Telescope Data Center.

  • Xplns reproduces real starry sky on your display of X Window System.

  • Nightfall is an astronomy application for fun, education, and science. It can produce animated views of eclipsing binary stars, calculate synthetic light curves and radial velocity curves, and eventually determine the best-fit model for a given set of observational data of an eclipsing binary star system.

  • NOVA free Integrated Observational Environment for astronomers.

  • Stellarium is free GPL software which renders realistic skies in real time with openGL.

2.3. Portable and Handheld Applications

The advance of palm computers has taken hold. Linux has made its way to this realm.

2.4. Simulators

Programs that classify themselves as simulators.

  • Celestia Real-time visual simulation of space for Windows and Unix(Linux)

  • OpenUniverse Simulates the Solar System bodies in 3D in Windows and Linux

  • Started in summer 2001 just as a simple collection of celestial mechanics C++ classes, the ORSA project now collects many general classes, a graphical interface running under Linux/Unix, Mac OS X and Windows, and a number of tutorial programs. The ORSA project is under heavy development, and at the moment is beta quality software.

2.5. Image Processing

  • Astronomical Information Processing System (AIPS) is the heavy iron used by professional astronomers. AIPS++ is the place to find out more, but note that AIPS Classic also exists and is actively maintained.

  • Good ol' GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is a fine program to use for processing of digital images of all kinds and can prove useful for astro images as well.

2.6. Mathematics

  • Numarray provides array manipulation and computational capabilities similar to those found in IDL, Matlab, or Octave. Using numarray, it is possible to write many efficient numerical data processing applications directly in Python without using any C, C++ or Fortran code (as well as doing such analysis interactively within Python or PyRAF).

  • NumPy is the successor to Numarray. STScI is in the process of migrating all of its software to use numpy, and the next release of stsci_python and STSDAS/TABLES will use numpy in place of numarray.

2.7. Sun and Moon

A surprising number of applications deal with just the Sun and Moon.

  • wmMoonClock shows lunar ephemeris to fairly high accuracy and is listed at this web site along with several other interesting programs. THIS LINK APPEARS DEAD AND MIGHT BE DELETED SOON.

  • XVMoontool is an XView application which displays information about the Moon in real time.

  • XTide is a package that provides tide and current predictions in a wide variety of formats. Graphs, text listings, and calendars can be generated, or a tide clock can be provided on your desktop.

2.8. Libraries

This section discusses bits and pieces of software that can be used to form the basis for specialized projects.

2.9. Games

Yes, games.

  • Orbit - Be a space fighter pilot in Windows or Linux. NEWS 2007 - the original site domain appears to have been lost, but archive copies are on the Internet. The link has been changed to a Google search URL.

2.10. Other

Every list needs a miscellaneous section, and this is it for Software.

  • IRAF is a gigantic but exceptionally capable astronomical analysis system, shepherded over the past 20-odd years by Doug Tody formally at NOAO. It has accumulated innumerable authoritative contributions from leading astronomers in all areas of astronomical data analysis. If you have a serious interest in astronomical data reduction and significant time to invest, this system will reward you mightily.

  • PyRAF is a new command language for running IRAF tasks that is based on the Python scripting language. It gives users the ability to run IRAF tasks in an environment that has all the power and flexibility of Python.

  • Nightfall Eclipsing Binary Star Program

  • Xplanet Very realistic rendering program for Earth and other planets and moons. Uses X Windows and OpenGL.

  • StarPlot A 3-Dimensional Star Chart Viewer for Linux. Uses C++ and Gtk+.