The Image Reduction and Analysis Facility


The Image Reduction and Analysis Facility (IRAF) was developed by the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) in 1986. It is a collection of programs that are useful for astronomical image reduction and spectral analysis. The latest stable release is v2.16 (22 Mar 2012). The IRAF main page can be found here.

I think the modern student of astronomy gains a lot by using IRAF first to learn all reduction techniques. Considering each step carefully and executing by hand is the surest way (in my estimation) to understanding what is actually happening during the reduction process.

Installing IRAF

I've detailed a short tutorial on how to install IRAF and SAOImage DS9 on an Ubuntu system (tested on 64-bit Ubuntu 16.04, 17.04, and 18.04 versions). The tutorial that was easiest for me to grasp when I first installed IRAF successfully was the excellent instructions provided by Rubab Khan. Thus, my installation process closely approximates his. I've merely changed a few things (for instance, some libraries are deprecated in later Ubuntu versions, and therefore have been omitted).

Open a new terminal.

First, we install IRAF.

$ sudo apt install tcsh libxss1 lib32z1 lib32ncurses5

$ wget

$ sudo mkdir /iraf

$ sudo mkdir /iraf/iraf

$ sudo mv iraf.lnux.x86_64.tar.gz /iraf/iraf

$ cd /iraf/iraf

$ sudo tar -zxvf iraf.lnux.x86_64.tar.gz

$ sudo rm iraf.lnux.x86_64.tar.gz

$ sudo ./install

Hit Enter for all prompts.

Then, we install X11IRAF.

$ sudo mkdir /iraf/x11iraf

$ cd /iraf/x11iraf

$ sudo wget

$ sudo tar -zxvf x11iraf-v2.0BETA-bin.linux.tar.gz

$ sudo rm x11iraf-v2.0BETA-bin.linux.tar.gz

$ sudo ./install

Hit Enter for all prompts.

Then, we install DS9.

$ sudo wget

$ sudo tar -zxvf ds9.linux64.7.2.tar.gz

$ sudo rm ds9.linux64.7.2.tar.gz

$ sudo mv ds9 /usr/local/bin/

Finally, we install the external packages for IRAF.

$ cd /iraf/iraf/extern

$ sudo ./configure

$ sudo make adccdrom ctio cfh12k esowfi mscdb mscred stsdas nfextern optic

$ sudo make deitab euv mem0 mtools rvsao song sqiid stecf ucsclris upsqiid xdimsum

To create a LOGIN.CL file, just go to any directory of your choosing.

$ mkiraf

Then, to start IRAF, go to the same directory in which you made IRAF.

$ cl

24 Jun 2018