Python/3D Visualization: A new book available for students and scientists

by Guest July 8, 2015

Brian Kent is an associate scientist with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory working on pipeline software for VLA and ALMA, and has interests in galaxy surveys, dynamics, and 3D graphics and visualization. A new book published by IOP is now available entitled “3D Scientific Visualization with Blender.” This work is written for a broad scientific […]


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Details and discussion about impending changes to ApJ and AJ

by Kelle February 13, 2015

During AAS225 in Seattle, there was an announcement about changes coming to the AAS Journals: Astrophysical Journal (ApJ), Astrophysical Journal Letters (ApJL), and the Astronomical Journal (AJ). These changes include lots of awesome things such as “linking articles directly to data archives, providing for video abstracts, improving figure presentation, making figures interactive, introducing the ability […]


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Visualization Fun with Python

by Jess K February 10, 2014

The below plot is my favorite data visualization I created for my thesis. It is a 2D density plot with histograms projected along each axis. I based the above plot on code from here, however this plot also includes a 2D temperature/density plot in the middle, and 1/2/3 sigma contour lines.  Below is the code I […]


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Slim down your bloated graphics

by Jessica Lu January 17, 2014

This post was originally written by Erik Petigura who is a graduate student at UC Berkeley and visitor at the IfA, Hawaii working on exo-planet hunting. The post was modified by Jessica R. Lu to incorporate suggestions from a Facebook Astronomers Group thread on the same topic.  Have you ever encountered a paper or proposal PDF […]


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Plotting to a File in Python

by Jess K September 20, 2013

Have you ever wanted to save a Python/Matplotlib image directly to a file instead of having it displayed in an X11 window? I needed to do this for a project where I used qsub/PBS to submit jobs to a cluster and I wanted to plot some results for each run and save them to a […]


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Tutorial for embedding 3D interactive graphics into PDF

by Guest March 7, 2012

Josh Peek (@jegpeek) is a Hubble Fellow at Columbia University, specializing in the ISM in and around disk galaxies. He has a fascination with data presentation and design. As an astronomer studying the complex three-dimensional structures of the interstellar medium, I’ve been taken with the idea of presenting that information in a compelling and interactive […]


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Digitize that figure, fast

by Jane November 17, 2011

Here’s a common workflow:  “I want to overplot a curve from the literature on my new plot.  I could write the author and wait several days for them to dig up the plot file and send me the digitized version, but I want to compare now!” One solution is to digitize the published plot. I […]


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What Vector Drawing Packages Are Available? [Ask AstroBetter]

by saurav March 28, 2011

Matthew K. sent in a question for our Ask AstroBetter series: What vector graphics drawing package do you use for your figures? I’ve been using xfig for all my “hand drawn” plots, but I wonder if anyone has successfully moved on to more recent drawing packages … [a package] to draw simple figures like optical […]


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Introducing Coyote Graphics: The New Old Graphics System for IDL

by Guest March 22, 2011

This is a guest post by David “Coyote” Fanning. The Coyote is familiar to many of us since his web page, Coyote’s Guide to IDL Programming, is the most informative web page on IDL. He has been working with IDL software for nearly 25 years. He developed the first IDL training course and became the […]


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Add Symbols and Equations to IDL Figures with LaTeX and PSfrag

by saurav January 4, 2011

While IDL does support math equations and symbols—often made easier by routines like and—the results are not aesthetically pleasing. One particular instance that has annoyed many of us astronomers has been the sunsymbol (⦿). The available solutions are not ideal: the dot inside the circle is off-center in, the vertical alignment is […]


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