Erik Tollerud is a Hubble Fellow at Yale University, and is a member of the Astropy Coordinating Committee. His research interests are centered on local dwarf galaxies and near-field cosmology, but he also has a strong interest in the development and sharing of better science software.
This July, we performed the third major public release (v0.4) of the astropy package, a core Python package for Astronomy. Astropy is a community-driven package intended to contain much of the core functionality and common tools needed for performing astronomy and astrophysics with Python.
New and improved major functionality in this release includes:
- A new astropy.vo.samp sub-package adapted from the previously standalone SAMPy package
- A re-designed astropy.coordinates sub-package for celestial coordinates
- A new ‘fitsheader’ command-line tool that can be used to quickly inspect FITS headers
- A new HTML table reader/writer
- Improved performance for Quantity objects
- A re-designed configuration framework
In addition, hundreds of smaller improvements and fixes have been made. An overview of the changes is provided at the “What’s New” page the documentation.
If you use the Anaconda Python Distribution, you can install Astropy by going to a terminal and typing:
conda install astropy
Or update an existing installation to v0.4 by typing:
conda update astropy
Please report any issues, or request new features via our GitHub repository’s issue tracker: https://github.com/astropy/astropy/issues
Over 80 developers have contributed code to Astropy so far, and you can find out more about the team behind Astropy at our web site.
If you use Astropy directly – or as a dependency to another package – for your work, please remember to include the following acknowledgment at the end of papers:
“This research made use of Astropy, a community-developed core Python package for Astronomy (Astropy Collaboration, 2013).”
where “(Astropy Collaboration, 2013)” is the Astropy paper.
The next version of Astropy (v1.0) will be at the end of the year, and will be our first “long-term supported” release. This means we will continue to support it for 2 years, allowing facilities like observatories to count on continuing support for at least that long.