Links to other Astronomy and IDL related sites
General IDL Resources
about IDL from Harris Geospatial
Harris Geospatial Solutions is the manufacturer of IDL,
and this is the Web site to obtain a summary
of IDL functionality, information about pricing and supported machines,
or to download an IDL demo. (Previous names of the manufacturer of IDL include
Exelis VIS, ITTVIS, and RSI.) The site also contains a section of
Help Articles on
The current IDL version is 8.7, and the IDL documentation
is available online. Harris Geospatial maintains a blog
on programming, visualization and data analysis with IDL at
The IDL Datapoint .
The main forum for discussion and questions about the IDL language is the
. This site is a continuation of the Usenet group
, which was abandoned at the end of 2017 due to a heavy attack by spammers.
Thanks to P. Penteado, a searchable archive of comp.lang.idl-pvwave messages between 1991 and 2017 is available at the
comp.lang.idl-pvwave archive site.
Harris Geospatial maintains a less active User forum . Frequently asked questions
(FAQ) about IDL are probably most likely to be answered in one of the several
IDL Programming Tips and
Tricks available in David Fanning's Coyote's Guide to IDL Programming.
Coyote's Guide to IDL Programming
Although independent IDL consultant David Fanning
in November 2014, his
Coyote's Guide to IDL Programming website
remains the first place to look for advice on IDL programming. The IDL Astronomy Library includes a subset of the "Coyote" IDL
library, and anyone using IDL direct graphics is encouraged to
download this library. David is also the author of
IDL Programming Techniques" (2000) and
Coyote's Guide to Traditional IDL Graphics (2011).
Direct Graphics Plotting :
- In 2010, IDL 8.0 introduced a new plotting system
"function graphics" which should probably be used for all new development.
However, several groups have written code to enhance the capabilities of the older "direct
CGZPLOT allows one to zoom and pan
across a plot. The FUSE group in
Paris has written Xiplot
(V2.18 Octs 2014) which
can read a FITS binary table and allows some spectral manipulation. The function_1d.pro
program in the TARA package
includes fitting and shifting procedures.
The well-documented plotting widget GRAFFER by James Tappin (U.
of Birmingham), was last updated (Version 4.05a) in August 2012.
IDL Library includes a 2-D plotting
widget (Version 3.2 last updated May 2013).
Coyote Graphics Plot Gallery
allows one to click on numerous example plots to see the IDL code used to create it.
Ubeda (STScI) has developed
which is a similar, but more
astronomy-oriented, clickable plot gallery.
(Institute for Chemistry and Dynamic of the Geosphere) Library
This large library of IDL programs at the ForschungsZentrum Jülich
in Germany includes procedures for conversion of IDL variables and structures
into html code, plotting, programming tools, widgets, and a interface to
a facsimile differential equation solver for chemical reactions. Version 13.0
was released in November 2013.
JHU/APL(Johns Hopkins University/Applied
Physics Laboratory) IDL Library
Ray Sterner created this large general IDL library at the JHU Applied Physics
Laboratory. The site also
Last updated Oct 2014.
Ken Bowman's IDL page
Ken Bowman (Texas A&M) is the author of the 2005 book
An Introduction to
Programming with IDL for beginning programmers.
Harris Geospatial sells
DATAMINER , an add-on module that allows one to connect to multiple
databases from IDL. Marc Buie developed an
MySQL interface using bidirectional pipes. Sergey Koposov has developed
idl-sql, which alllows one
to execute SQL queries from IDL and retrieve the results of these queries in
IDL. It uses the IDL-Java bridge and the Java Database Connectivity (JDBC).
He has also adapted software from Erin Sheldon for
accessing a Postgresql database,
that does not use the IDL-Java bridge.
Dimeo's IDL Library
This IDL library the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
is particularly useful for
a general-purpose curve fitting utility with a graphical user interface (last
updated May 2005), an IDL implementation of a genetic algorithm, and a
visualization of 1d quantum dynamics (last updated July 2007).
There is also an
IDL course manual providing an introduction to widget and
Michael Galloy's Resources for IDL
- This readable blog by a former IDL instructor and consultant discusses IDL
(and non-IDL) techniques for visualization and information design. Mike
also maintains IDLDOC , a
producing documentation for any valid IDL code,
rIDL , an IDL
command line replacement similar to ipython,
mgunit a framework for unit testing for IDL, and an excellent personal
IDL library .
Mike is the author of
Modern IDL: A Guide to IDL programming
, which was last revised in Sep 2015 to include updates on IDL 8.5.
David Grier's IDL Library
This IDL library at New York University includes code to acquire images from video
cameras, and code for tracking features in images.
Hadfield's Motley IDL Library
This IDL library at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research
in New Zealand includes several Object Graphics classes, a
base class for widget applications and several applications built on it,
functions that make it easy to represent scaled data on axes,
classes for accessing netCDF files and several utility routines. Last updated
Ronn Kling Consulting
This site is probably most useful for its C code available as DLM (dynamically
linked modules) to enhance IDL capabilities. Ronn Kling is the
author of the books
Application Development with IDL (1999),
Calling C and C++ from IDL (2001),
Power Graphics with
Object-Oriented Programming with IDL (2010), and most recently
Using Python from IDL (2014)
This IDL library at the University of Wisconsin includes many well-documented
plotting, utility, ephemeris, mathematics and robust curve-fitting procedures.
Last updated Jan 2017.
Mathew Craig's TeXtoIDL Software
This software translates the TeX character set into the
IDL plotting symbol codes. Version 2.1.2 updated June 2004. This code has been
mostly supplanted by
in the Coyote Graphics Library
David Windt's IDL
This IDL library at Reflective X-ray Optics LLC
includes procedures for plotting,
curve fitting, and image analysis. Also includes IMD, a widget tool for
analysis of optical multilayers. Last updated July 2014
IDL Text Editor modes
Although IDL comes with an Eclipse-based development environment, some users prefer a
traditional text editor with an IDL language mode.
The Emacs mode for IDL
is maintained by JD Smith at the University of Arizona.
Version 6.5 was released in January 2011 and is included in the current
Emacs release .
IDL .plist mode for TextWrangler/BBEdit on the Mac is available from Will
Powell. Alfred de Wijn wrote code to
improve the VIM editor support for IDL
IDL Wavelet Software:
Since V8.0, IDL includes a wavelet toolkit (which was formerly available as a
Christopher Torrence and Gilbert Campo have written a
Guide to Wavelet Analysis with applications in geophysics, and include
some IDL software. Multi Resolutions Ltd. sells a software package for
Multiresolution Analysis which
includes about 5000 lines of IDL code.
Free IDL Clones
The following two actively developed languages are similar to IDL,
though they may lack some
features, and have limited documentation. The
GNU Data Language
(GDL) is an Open Source clone of IDL, currently at Version 0.9.7
(Jan 2017). The Fawlty Language (FL)
is an IDL8 compatible compiler,
currently at version 0.79.43.1 (Jan 2018).
Some companies sell products to enhance the capabilities of IDL.
Harris Geospatial sells the
Math & Statistics Library
(formerly "IDL Analyst") which adds the capablities of the IMSL(TM) C Numerical Library to IDL
Astronomy IDL Software Sites
ACS (Advanced Camera for Surveys) analysis software
Maurizio Paolillo (University of Napoli) has written
addACS.pro to add a simulated PSF or Globular Clusters to HST ACS
The Center for Adaptive Optics (CfAO) at the Lick Observatory provides links to several AO packages which use IDL including an
AO Simulation Package
written by Francois Rigaut,
software (v1.6f) first written in August 2000 to analyze stellar fields from AO images,
Virtual Telescope Software
to simulate telescope observing parameters (e.g. S/N).
The CAOS - Code for
Adaptive Optics System system at Arcetri Observatory is composed of a
graphical programming environment, which can load different packages including
the CAOS software package (V5.2, April 2007), the MAOS (Multiconjugate Adaptive Optics
Simulations) package, and the AIRY image reconstruction package. Tuan Do (UCLA)
has written Fourier Optics GUI (fgui),
an IDL widget that computes and displays the effect of adding phase aberrations for
apertures of different shapes
Institute of Tübingen) IDL software
The AIT Library includes IDL procedures for analyzing X-ray astronomy data,
and provides a nice up-to-date interface to the IDL Astronomy Library. It also
provides access to ther
TRIPP (Time Resolved Imaging PHotometry Package)
software, and to procedures for time-series analysis.
- Aladin is an interactive software sky atlas allowing the user to visualize
digitized astronomical images, superimpose entries from astronomical catalogues
or databases. Since February 2007, an IDL interface has
been available, using the IDL_Java bridge to allow users to launch Aladin, load
images, load tables, select object in tables, etc. from the IDL prompt.
ATV Image Display
ATV is an image display widget written by Aaron Barth (UC Irvine), that
is modeled after the SAOimage display package. The current version is 3.0b8,
last modified 28-Nov-2016 and includes astronomical coordinate tracking,
radial profile plots, choice of coordinate systems, and the ability to
read FITS extensions. A modified version of ATV called SMTV which includes WCS
overlays, DS9 region files, and image cube options is available in the
SMART data analysis package. Ken Mighell (NOAO) and his students have
based on ATV, but which includes additional photometry/astrometry tools.
Version 1.41 was released in June 2013.
Jeremy Bailin's IDL Utilities (JBIU )
- Jeremy Bailin makes available a small library of astronomy and miscellaneous routines.
Last updated July 2016 (jbiu-1.2.1.tgz)
Chris Beaumont's IDL Code
- Chris Beaumont (U. of Hawaii) makes available some of his IDL routines,
iincluding procedures for Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulations, kinematic
distances, robust methods, and vector and stack classes. Last updated
- Gonzalo Aniono (Princeton) and colleagues have written convolve_image.pro,
a routine to generate multiwavelength images with a common PSF.
The CosmoStat group at the AIM laboratory of CEA/Saclay has developed a large collection of mainly
IDL based software for statistics and cosmology. In particular, the Interactive Sparse
Astronomical data Analysis Package
(ISAP) includes well-documented IDL code for analysis of data on the sphere.
Atomic Database Programs
CHIANTI consists of a suite of IDL programs and a database of atomic data
for calculating synthetic spectra in the region between 50 A and 1100 A.
This site at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) includes extensive documentation.
Version 8.0.10 was released in November 2017. The
Package for Interactive Analysis of Line Emission (PINTofALE)
Harvard Center for Astrophysics (CFA) uses CHIANTI for the analysis
of spectroscopic data from optically-thin coronal plasmas. Version 2.97 was
last updated November 2016. The Chandra X-ray Center has
an IDL interface to Version V2.0.0 (December 2003) of the
Atomic Database (ATOMDB) for X-ray spectral modeling. Jan-Uwe Ness ASU)
and Rainer Wichmann (Hamburg) have developed
CORA , a
maximum-likelihood line-fitting package for X-ray spectra that can be run in IDL
or C. V4.1 was released in May 2009. P.G. Judge (HAO) has developed
to manipulate data for neutral atoms
and atomic ions in space plasmas, notably solar and stellar atmospheres. Version 1.1 was released in Jan.
- Cosmology Routines
The IDL cosmology packages ICOSMO
(Refregier et al. 2011) and
(Moustakas and Moustakas 2002) are no longer
actively maintained but the
ICOSMO source code
and the RED source code are
Barden (MPIA) has written
FERENGI ( Full and Efficient Redshifting Ensemble of Nearby Galaxy Images)
which uses the K corrections to model the appearance of a galaxy at any
redshift. Ivan Baldry (Liverpool John Moores) has developed the IDL code
automatically determine the redshift from (AAT) spectra. Last updated April 2014.
Dan Bramich (ESO) has released a library of mainly astronomy-related IDL procedures including
routines for image differencing, Delaunay triangle source matching, and synthesis functions.
The entire library is available for a one-time subscription fee, but
a subset of the DanIDL routines is available in the public domain via the
DanIDL-Lite library. Version 3.0 of
released in November 2017.
James Davenport's IDL Code
- James Davenport (Western Washington U.) makes available some of his IDL routines,
for analyzing light curves and flares, binning and smoothing.
Education and Instruction Astronomy IDL Pages
Robert O'Connell (U. of Virginia) has written a guide to
IDL for Astronomers including
exercises for class work (last updated Jan 2015).
Robert da Silva (Lick Observatory) has written
A Slug's Guide to IDL.
It is an actively updated IDL resource with simplified explanations
L. Nicastro (INAF-IASF) presented
IDL primer course in June 2009.
Jason Wright (Cornell) and Andrew Howard (Berkeley) make available
RVLIN, an IDL
package for efficient fitting of multi-planet Keplerian models to radial
velocity and astrometric data. Version 2.15 was released in June 2015.
The site also includes a robust parameter uncertainty estimator for RVLIN (V1.1
released October 2012).
Jason Eastman (Ohio State) and colleagues make available
a robust suite of IDL routines designed to fit
exoplanetary transits and radial velocity variations
and characterize the parameter uncertainties and covariances with a
Differential Evolution Markov Chain Monte Carlo method.
J. Zachary Gazak (U. of Hawaii) and colleagues
Transit Analysis Package (TAP)
an IDL Widget
which utilizes Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) techniques to
fit transit light curves. Brian Jackson (Carnegie Inst.) and colleagues have
(Ellipsoidal Variations Induced by a Low-Mass Companion)
(to calculate stellar ellipsoidal variations and planetary phase function.
R. Iglesias-Marzoa (Universidad de La Laguna) has written
RVFIT, which fits
non-precessing Keplerian radial velocity (RV) curves for double-line and
single-line binary stars or exoplanets using an adaptive simulated annealing
EZ_Ages is an IDL code package that computes the mean, light-weighted stellar
population age, [Fe/H], and abundance enhancements [Mg/Fe], [C/Fe], [N/Fe], and
[Ca/Fe] for unresolved stellar populations. This is accomplished by comparing
Lick index line strengths between the data and the stellar population models
Schiavon (2007), using a method described in
Graves &.Schiavon (2008).
Fermi Analysis Software
The Fermi Science team makes available
which will create lightcurves, fit backgrounds, and fit single or multiple
spectra for NaI and BGO detectors. It was written by R. Preece, M. Briggs, and
V. Connaughton (U. of Alabama, Huntsville).
GALAPAGOS-2: Galaxy Analysis over Large Areas: Parameter Assessment by
GALFITting Objects from Sextractor
- Marco Barden (University of Innsbruck) originally developed the GALAPAGOS package,
which combines object detection with
and light profile modelling with
GALFIT to help automate the analysis of large astronomical imaging survey
data sets. The MegaMorph project (Häußler, Bamford and Vika) has added many new features
to this code to create GALAPAGOS-2
K IDL User's Library
This is a collection of general purpose and high energy astrophysics routines
written by members of the particle astrophysics group at the Stanford Linear
Accelerator. A good site for mathematics and statistics routines. Last updated
An IDL Spectral Typing Suite
The Hammer spectral typing algorithm was originally developed for use on
late-type SDSS spectra, but has subsequently been modified to allow it to
classify spectra in a variety of formats with targets spanning the MK spectral
sequence..Written and maintained by Kevin Covey (Harvard),
Andrew A. West, and John J. Bochanski. V1.2 was written in Dec 09.
Harrington's IDL packages
Joe Harrington (U. of Central Florida) make several IDL packages available including
a wavelet transform to defringe flats, Optspecextr - optimal extraction of a
point source spectrum, "Synthspec" for producing mock spectra from a
spectrograph, and "MaskInterp" for repairing bad pixels using a non-linear
surface fit to neighboring good pixels.
This IDL software package developed by D. Thilker (NMSU, 2000 AJ, 120, 3070 )
is designed for accurate photometric characterization of H II regions while
permitting genuine adaptivity to irregular source morphology. HIIphot
utilizes object recognition techniques to make a first guess at the shapes of
all sources and then allows for departure from such idealized ``seeds''
through an iterative growing procedure.
IDL-CSPICE Interface (ICY)
Ed Wright (JPL) has developed an IDL DLM interface to the C version of the SPICE ephemeris/geometry
library which is used to read/write spacecraft navigation trajectory data files
(known as kernels), perform various geometry calculations and time conversions.
Documentation for ICY is available.
Last updated Sep. 2015. The software system
CAVIAR uses ICY
for the measurement of the positions of natural satellites in spacecraft images.
IDLAstro Contrib directories
neural network classifier procedure nnet.pro and training program train_nnet.pro
object-oriented display widgets XCTV, XCTV2, XCTVN for roaming, zooming, scaling and examining
pixel values in one, two or many images (last updated 27-Apr-2004).
ROBLIB, a set of mathematical and statistical procedures for robust
- a (large) widget image display program
- contains "IDL Extractor" programs to extract light curves, spectra and
power spectra from RXTE data (and also Swift and Chandra data). Version
1.2 updated Februrary 2009
Integral Field Spectroscopy Software
I-Ting Ho (Hawaii) and colleages have written
LZIFU an IDL
toolkit for fitting multiple emission lines simultaneously in integral field
Christer Sandin (Potsdam) and collaborators have written
P3d , a
general data-reduction IDL widget for analyzing data from fiber-fed integral field spectrographs (IFSs).
V2.5.2 released Dec 2017.
Adam S. Bolton (IfA) and Scott Burles (MIT ) have written
a set of
IDL software routines designed for the calibration and reduction of fiber-fed
integral-field unit (IFU) astronomical spectroscopy. F. F. Rosales-Ortega (Cambridge, IEM-CSIC) has written
set of IDL routines (last updated November 2012) designed to visualise and interactively manipulate integral field spectroscopic data.
The software was originally designed to handle
C. Iserlohe ( Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik) has
written the IDL GUI packages
UNYS and CHI2 to deconvolve a
line-of-sight-velocity-profile from an object spectrum using a template
spectrum. The programs were designed to work on near-infrared spectrographs
SPIFFI and ISAAC. The current version V2.1 (beta) was released in August 2003.
Mark Westmoquette (UCL) has modified the
PAN curve-fitting widget
from Rob Dimeo for
use with astronomical spectra.
An IDL package for
3D Fabry-Perot Data Reduction Software was developed at
the Université de Montréal and was designed for the
integral field spectrometer.
Rogemar A. Riffel (Universidade Federal de Santa Maria) has written
(Emission-line PROfile FITting routine) to do automated fitting of
emission-line profiles by Gaussian curves or Gauss-Hermite series optimized
for use in Integral Field and Fabry-Perot data cubes. V1.3 released April 2015.
David Rupke (Rhodes College) has written
IFSRED , a general-purpose library for reducing data from integral
field spectrographs. He has also writen
IFSFIT .an IDL library for
fitting the continuum, emission lines, and absorption lines in integral field
- Spitzer and
Infrared Astronomy software
Spitzer Science Center distributes several IDL tools including the large
SMART (IRS Spectroscopy Modeling Analysis and Reduction Tool) package
(Version 8.2.9 released September 2014). This package is designed to analyze data
from the Infrared Spectrograph (IRS) but includes many useful general astronomy
tools. Klaus Pontoppidan (STScI) has written
(Caltech High-res IRS Pipeline ) an IDL reduction package for reducing high signal-to-noise
short-high and long-high Spitzer-IRS spectra.
JD Smith (U. of Arizona) developed CUBISM , a tool for
constructing spectral cubes, maps, and arbitrary aperture 1D spectral
extractions from sets of mapping mode spectra taken with Spitzer's IRS
spectrograph (V1.8 released July 2011). He also makes available
PAHFIT , an IDL tool for decomposing Spitzer IRS spectra of polyaromatic
hydrocarbon (PAH) emission sources. (Version 1.2 released in October 2006).
Matthieu Bethermin and collegues at the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale (IAS)
IDL software for analysis of
infrared galaxies, including stacking of Spitzer images (V1.0 release Dec 2009), PSF fitting with
position priors (V1.0 release May 2010), and a model of the infrared sky. Sarah Kendrew (Leiden
Observatory) has written IDL code to compute the
sensitivity of a ground-based mid-infrared
instrument, originally written for the proposed
Mid-Infrared E-ELT Imager and Spectrograph
Dan Li (U. of Florida) has written
IDEALCam ( Interactive Data Reduction and Analysis for
CanariCam ), an
efficient tool to access, reduce, and analyze multi-extension mid-IR FITS
The Instrument Definition Teams for the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) developed their interactive analysis
software in IDL, and the software and documentation can be accessed from
the ISO Data Center in VillaFranca, Spain. Access to the ISO software in
the U.S. is available from the Infrared
Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) . The
Infrared Science Archive (IRSA)
provides IDL tools for querying their catalogs and reading and writing the IPAC table format.
Instrument Reduction Pipelines
MASE: (MAGE Spectral Extractor) IDL software was written by John Bochanski (MIT) and collaborators to reduce
data from the
Magellan Echellete Spectrograph (MAGE) . Reduction steps include
flatfielding, spectral extraction, wavelength and flux calibrations.
V1.0 was released in Sep 09. The
MMIRS data reduction pipeline is an
IDL software package to reduce long-slit and multi-slit spectroscopic
observations collected using the MMT and the
Magellan Infrared Spectrograph (MMIRS).
Last updated Feb 2015.
Interferometry: Optical and Infrared
The Optical Interferometer Script Data Reduction package
was developed at the US Naval Observatory as a
comprehensive system for displaying, editing, averaging, calibrating, and
modeling interferometry data. V8.25 was released in June 2017 and is available by
contactingg the author. The
MIDI Interactive Analysis
(MIA) software was developed at the Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie
(MPIA) to analyze data from the MID-infrared Interferometric instrument (MIDI)
on the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). Version 2.0 was released
John Monnier (U. of Michigan) has developed
an IDL interface to
(OIFITS) to read
(Optical Interferometry FITS) data,
which is a proposed standard for storing optical interferometry data in FITS
binary tables. It was last updated in Jan 2013.
Jason Prochaska's XIDL software
- This site at the Lick Observatory includes procedures for modeling and
analyzing spectra of damped Ly Alpha absorption lines (DLA), but includes some
routines generally useful for spectroscopy and photometry. V3.0 was released
in June 2010.
Jesùs Maíz-Apellániz' Astronomy software
- This site in Granada, Spain includes CHORIZOS,
a chi-square code to compare photometry with model spectral energy
distributions, MULTISPEC, software for reducing images of slitless spectra, and
JMAPLOT, a simplified wrapper to the IDL plotting routines.
(LAplacian COSMIC ray identification) software
- LACOSMIC (Van Dokkum 2001, PASP, 113, 1420) is an algorithm for robust
cosmic ray identification using Laplacian edge detection. IDL code is
included at Peter van Dokkum's Yale website for the case of imaging.
Marc Buie's Astronomy IDL
software (CCDPHOT, ITOOL)
Includes the IDL widget programs CCDPHOT to process CCD data, and ITOOL
for general image processing, which were developed at Lowell Observatory
for the processing of solar system CCD images. Contains many useful IDL
procedures for astronomical analysis. Continuously updated.
Markus Feldt's Astronomy Packages
Markus Feldt at MPIA Heidelberg makes available two IDL packages:
SimVLTI for simulating
observations with the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) in Paranal,
Chile, and A/O (Version 0.37.2) a package to analyze data taken by array
cameras, in particular the ALFA/OMEGA (Adaptive optics with a Laser For
Cosmic Microwave and Far-Infrared Analysis Software
- The IDL software package for the Wilkinson Microwave
Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) (Version 3.1 updated June 2014) includes
time/coordinate conversion and pixelization algorithms useful for microwave
background analysis. WMAP and most other CMB experiments use the HEALPix (Hierarchical Equal Area
isoLatitude Pixelisation) pixelization scheme, and the HEALPix collaboration
includes IDL software for fast and accurate statistical and astrophysical
analysis of full-sky data sets (Version 3.31 updated August 2016).
Chris North (University of Oxford) has written
additional IDL routines
which interface to HEALPix to visualise and manipulate maps of the sky.
analysis software for the COsmic Background
Explorer (COBE) which was primarily written in IDL (Version 4.1 released June 1999).
Scanamorphos is an IDL software to build maps from scan observations
made with bolometer arrays, in particular with the PACS and SPIRE photometers
onboard the Herschel space telescope.
Version 25 was released in August 2016.
FTFitter is an IDL widget for
fitting FTS spectra from the
SPIRE (Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver) instrument on Herschel.
Version 1.93 was released in Jan 2015.
MIMIR Data Reduction Software
MIMIR is a near-infrared
instrument built at Boston University and Lowell Observatory. The software
includes a GUI-based IDL "project" that performs all the raw data intake,
quality testing, bookkeeping, dark/flat/linearity corrections, and wavelength
calibration needed to generate "science ready" images. Version 3.4.2 was released
in July 2014.
- This site maintained by Michele Cappellari (University of Oxford) contains several
excellent IDL packages.
will fit Multi_gaussian Expansion (MGE) models to galaxy images, to be used as a
parameterization for a galaxy surface brightness.
VORONOI_2D_BINNING will bin two-dimensional data to a constant
signal-to-noise ratio per bin (last updated April 2016).
extract galaxy stellar
kinematics from absorption line spectra (last updated August 2016).
Davor Krajnović (Oxford
University) makes available the
for analysis of 2D maps of (kinematic) moments of the line-of-sight-velocity
Paulo Penteado's IDL Library
- Paulo Penteado (Northern Arizona U.) makes available some of his IDL routines,
including those dealing with function graphics, convolution, and ground observing tools.
Last updated January 2016.
Bent Groves (MPIA-Heidelberg) has written
(IDL Tool for Emission-line Ratio Analysis) widget tool which allows one
to plot ratios of any strong atomic and ionized emission lines as determined
by standard photoionization and shock models. Last updated October 2009.
Planetary Data System (PDS) format readers
The Small Bodies Node (SBN) at the University of Maryland
provides IDL procedures for reading
images and tables in the PDS format. Version 4.7 was released in March 2016. The Observatory of Paris
provides an alternate IDL procedure for reading PDS files as part of the
EuroPlaNet project, that is especially
well-suited for spectral cubes. Version 3.1 was released in June 2013.
Photometric Data Extractor (PODEX)
- PODEX is an IDL widget written by Thomas Kallinger (Institut fur
Astronomie, Vienna) to obtain light curves from photometric CCD data
IDL-based simulation of light through an optical system.
- PROPER is a library of IDL routines developed by John Krist (JPL) to
simulate the propagation of light through an optical system. It automatically
applies near and far field propagators. It includes functions to create complex
apertures, model a deformable mirror, and create amplitude and phase aberrations
(Zernike, PSD-defined, user-generated map).. A detailed manual is
available. Version 3.0 was released in August 2017.
QSFIT - Quasar Spectral FITting package
- QSFIT is an IDL package written by Giorgio Calderone and Luciano Nicastro (INAF)
to automatically perform spectral analysis of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) optical/UV
Radio Astronomy Software
- IDL procedures have been developed at the National Astronomy and
Arecibo Observatory for reducing spectral line and
(Polarisation Angle CorrEcting Rotation Measure ANalysis) is an IDL code
to calculate Faraday rotation measure maps from multi-frequency polarisation
angle data (V1.2 released August 2005). GBTIDL is an interactive package for reduction and analysis of spectral
line data taken with the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT).
Version 2.10 was released in July 2016.
is an IDL package for the reduction
of single dish radio astronomy data.
Version 8.0 was released in October 2015.
Erik Rosolowsky (CFA) and Adam
have developed the
CPROPS package. to characterize
molecular cloud properties in a molecular line data cube. Their software
CLUMPFIND algorithm developed by
Jonathan Williams (Hawaii) to find local peaks in data cubes.
is a complete
IDL package to reduce data obtained with the
Smithsonian Submillimeter Array (SMA)
Last updated January 2018.
Package for the single and multiple deconvolution of 2D images
corrupted by Poisson noise
SGP-IDL was developed by M. Prato (Modena) and colleagues.
It computes a deconvolved image by early stopping of the scaled gradient
projection (SGP) algorithm for the solution of the optimization problem
coming from the minimization of the generalized Kullback-Leibler divergence
between the computed image and the observed image. The algorithms have been
implemented also for Graphic Processing Units (GPUs).
- Shapelets are a complete, orthonormal set of 2D basis functions
constructed from Laguerre or Hermite polynomials weighted by a Gaussian which
can be used to model any image, and are especially useful for galaxy
modeling. Richard Massey and Alexandre Refregier (CalTech) make their
well-documented IDL shapelet code publicly available (Version 2.2 released
May 2008). Dave Goldberg (Drexel U.)
uses shapelets for his IDL
flexion code for analyzing distortions due to gravitational lensing.
Rachel Mandelbaum (Carnegie-Mellon) has developed
(SHear Recovolution Analysis) , an IDL software package to generate realistic,
optionally sheared galaxy images as they would appear from a ground-based telescope,
using HST galaxy images to represent realistic galaxies, and user-supplied PSFs for the ground-based data to be simulated.
Imaging and Mosaicking Pipeline
SIMPLE is an IDL based data reduction package for optical and near-IR
blank-field imaging observations developed by W.H. Wang (NRAO). While it is currently optimized for the
camera on Subaru and the
on CFHT, its subroutines are written as generally as possible. Version 1.1 was
released in Aug. 2008
Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) IDL Software
- Some researchers from SDSS institutions keep their analysis software for
SDSS images and spectra publicly available. Erin Scott Sheldon maintains the
library , which includes IDL wrappers to C/C++ routines for postgres
database interface, efficient file input/output, and efficient ra/dec searching
using the Hierarchical Triangular Mesh (HTM). V1.7 was released in January 2012. The IDL SDSS spectroscopy software
can be downloaded as tar files. Mike Blanton (NYU) has written IDL code to calculate galaxy K-corrections and spectral
energy distributions (Version 4.2 released in February 2010). Vivienne
Wild & Paul Hewett (Institute of Astronomy) make IDL code available for removing residual
sky features (OH lines) from SDSS spectra. Her page also includes IDL
code for iterative robust and iterative
principal component analysis (PCA). David Hogg (NYU) maintains a
page with IDL code for proper color
representation of multi-band imaging.
SME (Spectroscopy Made Easy)
SME is IDL software and a compiled external library by J. Valenti (STScI) that fits an observed
high-resolution stellar spectrum with a synthetic spectrum to determine stellar parameters.
The latest version is 522, released July 2016.
Nikolai Piskusnov (Uppsala) makes available the IDL package
& Valenti 2002, A & A, 385, 1095) and also includes a small general IDL library.
Additional IDL programs for
modeling stellar spectra
available by Oleg Kochukhov (Uppsala).
Solar Software Library
Includes a very large number of general and solar-related IDL procedures
accessible via FTP
. Download instructions are available at the
Solarsoft Installation Guide, and a SolarSoft search page
Dominic Zarro has written IDL code using
IDL Map Software for Analyzing Solar Images , and
an introduction to
Programming with IDL Objects: Why and how to do it".
routines are available from the
UCSD (University of California) Solar &
Heliospheric Physics group.
Solar Stellar Spectrograph
The SSS is a
project dedicated to long-term observations of the Sun and Sun-like stars.
The well-documented object-oriented software
reduction code carries out the steps ( e.g. flat-fielding,
scattered light removal, spectrum extraction) and includes classes available
for general use.
An IDL Program for Viewing and Analyzing Astronomical Spectra
SpecPro is an interactive program written by D. Masters and P. Capak
for viewing and analyzing spectra,
particulary in the context of modern imaging surveys.
In addition to displaying the 1D and 2D spectrum, SpecPro can simultaneously
display available stamp images as well as the spectral energy distribution of
a source. Version 3.0 was released in February 2012.
This page contains SpexTool (V3.4 October 2006), an IDL-based spectral
extraction package written by Vacca, Cushing & Rayner (Institute for Astronomy,
Hawaii) for the Spex instrument, a 0.8 - 5.5 micron cross-dispersed
spectrograph on the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility. Also on this page
is a package for removing telluric lines from near-infrared spectra. It was
designed for the SpeX instrument but can be used on other near-infrared
Stellar Locus Regresion
FW High (Harvard/CFA) and co-workers make available an IDL package to directly
adjust instrumental broadband optical colors of stars to bring them into accord
with a universal stellar color-color locus. Version 1.1 was released in April
STOOLS ( IDL Tools for Spectroscopic
Carlos Allende Prieto (U. of Texas) makes available some of his IDL software, including a reader
for IRAF formatted echelle spectra, and cross-correlating spectra to determine
TA-DA ( A
Tool for Astrophysical Data Analysis)
TA-DA is an IDL save file for the
comparison of stellar photometric with theoretical models, and for
the derivation of stellar parameters from multi-band photometry. Version 0.99
was release in October 2012.
TAME ( Tools for Automatic
Measurement of Equivalent Width )
TAME is an IDL save file for the measurement of Equivalent Widths (EWs) in a
high-resolution spectrum. It was written by
Wonseok Kang and Sang-Gak Lee (Seoul National University). Version 1.1 was
last modified in January 2013.
TARA ( Tools for ACIS Real-time
TARA is an IDL widget which was originally developed at Penn State University for
for the pre-launch calibration of the AXAF CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS),
now aboard the Chandra X-ray observatory, but which is generally useful for
studying event data.
Analysis Kit (HAK) software is available for analyzing data from the
High-Energy Transmission Grating (HETG) aboard Chandra. Joel Kastner and his
students at the Rochester Institute of Technolgy make available IDL software for
Subpixel Event Repositioning for
the ACIS detectors.
Jason Eastman (OSU) and colleagues make available well-documented IDL code
for precision conversion to and from barycentric Julian date.
Telescope (UIT) software
The UIT image display software was a precursor to the IDL Astronomy
Library, but has some additional routines for image display and astrometry.
Last updated in 1995 so it is pretty obsolete.
Ultraviolet Spectral Analysis Software
Some of the ultraviolet spectral analysis software (e.g. multiple Gaussian
fits) might be useful for analysis on other types of spectral data. The
IUE (International Ultraviolet
Explorer) Data Analysis Center is probably the oldest
IDL-based astronomical data analysis package (last updated June 1999).
(Far Ultraviolet Spectrographic Explorer) IDL software includes some
excellent general useful tools for the analysis of 1-d spectra (last updated
February 2007). Stephen McCandliss (Johns Hopkins U.) has written
H2TOOLS for the
analysis of molecular hydrogen spectra.
The Galex Explorer (GALEX) mission
includes grisms to obtain ultraviolet spectra, and Todd Small (Cal Tech) has
GALEXSpec, an IDL widget for assessing the spectra in a GALEX field.
Charles Danforth (U. of Colorado) makes available IDL tools for analyzing data
Origins Spectrograph (COS) (last updated June 2014).
ULySS (University of Lyon Spectroscopic analysis Software)
ULySS is a well-documented package developed at the Observatoire de Lyon to fit
a spectrum with a linear combination of non-linear components convolved with a
line-of-sight velocity distribution (LOSVD) and multiplied by a polynomial
continuum. It is used to study stellar populations of galaxies and star
clusters and atmospheric parameters of stars. Version 1.2 was released in
Universal Transit Modeler (UTM)
Hans-Jörg Deeg (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias) has developed the
UTM software, which is light-curve simulator for transiting or eclipsing
configurations. He also makes available the vaphot software, a differential
photometry package for IRAF and IDL.
This site at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stonybrook includes
package developed by Fred Walter & Jim Neff for the analysis of
1-d astronomical spectra, and a package for the photometric reduction of
Kitt Peak near-infrared images.
Weighted Voronoi Tesselations (WVT)
- Steven Diehl and Tom Statler (Ohio U.) have written IDL software to
compute weighted Voronoi Tesselations, useful for binning sparse X-ray data.
V2.0 was released in December 2005.
- The ZODIPIC package is an IDL program written by Marc Kuchner
(NASA/Goddard) for synthesizing images of exozodiacal clouds. It also has enough
tweakable parameters to serve as a general-purpose modeling tool for
optically-thin disks. Zodipic Version 2.1
includes dust with real optical constants, and user-specified dust maps.
Christopher Stark (Goddard Space Flight Center) distributes
DUSTMAP, an IDL and C
package to view debris disks from any vantage point -- even from within!
Version 3.1.2 was released in April 2015.
IDL Astronomy Library
General Astronomy Sites
FITS Support Office
The main source for information about the Flexible Image Transport System
(FITS) data format, which is widely used in astronomy.
Systems of Time
This site at the US Naval Observatory explains the time systems (e.g. Julian
date, UTC) used in astronomy.