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Linux Astronomy-HOWTO

Here is our contribution to a "Linux Astronomy-HOWTO."

Updates will occur frequently for a while, but we wanted to let you know
about our work now.


John Huggins

Co-Author Astronomy HOWTO

I also author the VME HOWTO by the way.
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<title>Linux Astronomy HOWTO
<author>Elwood Downey and John Huggins <tt/howto@astronomy.net/
<date>$Revision: 1.5 $, $Date: 2000/05/02 11:59:19 $
This document shares tips and resources to utilize Linux
solutions in the pursuit of Astronomy.

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<sect> Introduction

<sect1> Knowledge Required
With all the help from major Linux distributions such as SuSE, Redhat, Caldera and many others, Linux based systems are becoming easier to use.  However, there is still some need of understanding of basic UNIX skills to make the most of Linux.  Thus, this HOWTO will assume that the reader has at least a basic knowledge of using a UNIX system including the ability to compile and install programs.
A few resources we have found useful over the years include:

<item> "A Practical Guide to the UNIX System", Mark G. Sobel
<item> "Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment", the late W. Richard Stevens
<item> "Running LINUX", Matt Welsh et al.
<item> "LINUX Device Drivers", Alessandro Rubini

Similarly, this is not a tutorial or reference for astronomy principles or
astronomical instrumentation. Astronomy is perhaps the grandest of all
sciences, employing widely disparate disciplines in a bold attempt to
understand nothing less than the universe itself. Your interests will lead
in many directions. A few references we have used include:

<item> "Astronomy with your Personal Computer", Peter Duffett-Smith
<item> "Astronomy on the Personal Computer", Oliver Montenbruck et al
<item> "Textbook on Spherical Astronomy", W. M. Smart
<item> "The Astronomy and Astrophysics Encyclopedia", Stephen P. Maran, ed.

<sect1> Scope
The authors define the scope of this HOWTO as primarily an index
to Linux tools applicable in some fashion to the pursuit of Astronomy. It
is *not* our intention to list WWW astronomy references in general. Our
own interests tend more towards the technology than the pure science and so
we welcome contributions from others who have found Linux tools which
contribute in other ways to Astronomy. Please contact us at the address
<sect1> Version
$Revision: 1.5 $
$Date: 2000/05/02 11:59:19 $
The latest version of this document is always available on the <htmlurl url="http://www.astronomy.net/" name="Astronomy Net"> at <htmlurl url="http://www.astronomy.net/howto/Astronomy-HOWTO.html" name="Astronomy HOWTO">.
We eagerly accept suggestions from you.  Send them to <htmlurl url="" name="Astronomy HOWTO Editors">.

<sect> Software
<sect1> Collections
Here are some links to collections and other indexes of Linux astronomy
<item> <htmlurl url="http://www.randomfactory.com/lfa.html" name="The Linux for Astronomy CDROM"> </item>
<item> <htmlurl url="http://SAL.KachinaTech.COM/Z/4/index.shtml" name="Scientific Applications on Linux (SAL), Physics and Astronomy"> </item>
<item> <htmlurl url="http://home.xnet.com/~blatura/linapp3.html#science" name="Linux Applications and Utilities Page, Science and Math"> </item>

<sect1> Planetarium Programs
Here is discussion of whole programs for use in finding objects, natural and
man-made, in the sky which run on Linux.

<item> <htmlurl url="http://clearskyinstitute.com/xephem" name="XEphem">
has been the pet project of one of us (Downey) for the past
15-odd years. It has grown to become one of the more capable
interactive tools for the computation of astronomical ephemerides.

<item> <htmlurl url="http://venus.sunquest.com/xsky_blurb.html" name="XSky">
is by Terry R. Friedrichsen, terry@venus.sunquest.com. XSky is
essentially an interactive sky atlas.

<htmlurl url="http://tdc-www.harvard.edu/software/skymap.html" name="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.

<htmlurl url="http://www.astroarts.com/products/xplns/" name="Xplns">
reproduces real starry sky on your display of X Window System.

<htmlurl url="http://www-mips.unice.fr/~biederd/eric/astrhorloge_en.shtml" name="AstrHorloge">
is a small astronomy software that shows a sky map, give you the coordinates of
stars and planets.

<sect1> Libraries
This section discusses bits and pieces of software that can be used to form the
basis for specialized projects.


<item><htmlurl url="http://rlspc5.bnsc.rl.ac.uk/star/docs/sun67.htx/sun67.html#xref_" name="SLALIB">, part of the
<htmlurl url="http://star-www.rl.ac.uk" name="Starlink Project">, is a
complete library of subroutines for astrometric computations.

<item><htmlurl url="http://ascl.net" name="Astrophysics Source Code Library">
is a collection of links to numerical astrophysical process models.

<item><htmlurl url="http://people.ne.mediaone.net/moshier/index.html" name="Astronomy and numerical software source codes"> is a collection of C codes related to astronomy.

<item><htmlurl url="http://hotel04.ausys.se/pausch/comp/ppcomp.html" name="How to compute planetary positions">.


<sect1> Other
Every list needs a miscellaneous section, and this is it for Software.

<item> <htmlurl url="http://iraf.noao.edu" name="IRAF"> is a gigantic
but exceptionally capable astronomical analysis system,
shepherded over the past 20-odd years by Doug Tody of 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.

<item> <htmlurl url="http://www.lsw.uni-heidelberg.de/~rwichman/Nightfall.html" name="Nightfall Eclipsing Binary Star Program"> </item>


<sect> Astronomical Images over the web
Much effort exists to allow access to Astronomical image file type such as FITS from any web browser.  Here are some pointers.

<sect1> List
The folks at harvard have a list of Image Servers and Image Browsers.

<item> <htmlurl url="http://tdc-www.harvard.edu/astro.image.html" name="Astronomical Images Over the Web">

<sect> Organizations

<item> The yearly <htmlurl url="http://hea-www.harvard.edu/adass" name="Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems, ADAAS,">
Conference Series provides a forum for scientists and computer specialists
concerned with algorithms, software and operating systems in the acquisition,
reduction and analysis of astronomical data.  The program includes invited
talks, contributed papers and poster sessions as well as user group meetings
and special interest meetings ("BOFs'').  All these activities aim to
encourage communication between software specialists and users, and also to
stimulate further development of astronomical software and systems.  

The linuxastro mailing list, linuxastro@majordomo.cv.nrao.edu, is for
people who are interested in porting astronomical software to linux. For
more information, see
<htmlurl url="http://bima.astro.umd.edu/nemo/linuxastro" name="linuxastro">.


<sect> Hardware Control
More folks are using Linux to control equipment.  Users range from amateur astronomers in the field to professional observatories.

<sect1> Telescope Control

<htmlurl url="http://www.torusoptics.com/OCAAS.htm" name="OCAAS"> is a
complete Observatory Control and Astronomical Analysis System for Linux.

<item> <htmlurl url="http://clearskyinstitute.com/xephem" name="XEphem">
has the capability to communicate with a telescope control daemon process.


<sect1> CCD Camera Control

<htmlurl url="http://www.apogee-ccd.com/software.html" name="Apogee Instruments Inc"> supports their line of professional CCD cameras under Linux.

<htmlurl url="http://www.sbig.com/sbwhtmls/linux_announcement.htm" name="SBIG"> offers some assistance with operating their ST7 and ST8 CCD cameras under Linux.


<sect> Installation Help
You need to know what you're doing with Linux and installing programs, but help is available for some programs.  Here are some ways to make life easier.


<htmlurl url="http://bima.astro.umd.edu/nemo/linuxastro/astromake/" name="AstroMake">
is is a utility intended to make installations of some common astronomical packages (in binary form) easy.

XEphem requires several elements to exist on your machine.  Life is much
simpler with the CDROM version of the program as it contains an installation
script which loads the appropriate precompiled binary for most systems and
places all auxiliary files to the correct spots. See
<htmlurl url="http://www.clearskyinstitute.com/ecommerce/xephem/order.html" name="XEphem CDROM"> </item>


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