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Astronomical Software

Group members: Bianca Garilli, Paolo Franzetti, Marco Scodeggio, Lucio Chiappetti, Luigi Paioro, Marco Fumana


The purpose of the Astronomical Software Group is to provide the astronomical community with software packages useful for data reduction and analysis, with particular emphasis towards applications connected with Multi-Object Spectrographs, and databases/catalogs handling for large Observational Cosmology surveys. For this reason the Group activities are strictly connected with the Observational Cosmology group ones.

Since 2004, AstroSwG developed, supported and distributed a number of software packages, and published on the Virtual Observatory 3 databases: the VVDS-CDFS spectroscopic catalog, together with optical snapshot Images of the sources (via SIA protocol) , the VVDS-DEEP spectroscopic catalog, and the VVDS-DEEP spectra (via SSA protocol), being thus the first Italian group to actively provide data to the Internatonal Virtual Observatory.

Among the distributed software packages, it is worth mentioning explicitly:

  1. VIPGI (VIMOS data reduction software): developed initially as a contractual delivery to ESO, it has been adopted as the reduction software within the VVDS project and, later, the zCosmos project. From June 2005 to December 2010, VIPGI has been distributed to the whole astronomical community.

  2. EZ: an automatic redshift measurement tool. Fundamental to carry out the VVDS, zCosmos, and VIPERS surveys, it is now world-wide distributed. It is now being adapted to work also with slitless spectra like those which will be obtained by Euclid.

  3. SAMPy: a Python module developed within the framework of the Italian Virtual Observatory, which allows Python scripts to communicate with any exiting VO compliant application (i.e. TOPCAT, Aladin, VOSpec, DS9), on one side, and with Python libraries on the other side. Originally born as stand-alone module, SAMPy has been now endorsed by the AstroPy project.

Software distribution is currently suspended due to manpower shortage, but it is planned to be resumed soon

Other important on-going activities include:

  1. EasyLife: a software infrastructure built around the VIPGI data reduction recipes to automatize as much as possible the process of data handling for large survey projects. This package currently provides all the data handling facilities for the VIPERS survey.

  2. iModel: this is a tool developed for the performance evaluation of the SPACE and EUCLID-NISP slitless spectrographs. It performs a full end-to-end simulation, starting from a set of parameters that describe the instrumental configuration, then simulating and reducing the observations and, finally, measuring the redshifts for the extracted spectra. It has been used to study and compare the various opto-mechanical configurations of the proposed instruments to evaluate the best one according to the scientific targets of the missions. The simulated data produced are also used as inputs for the development and testing of the reduction and analysis pipelines.

  3. LBT spectrograph pipelines: building on the VIMOS aexperience, we have developed the reduction pipelines for the MODS and LUCI spectrographs at the LBT. As a service to the italian community, we routinely reduce all the LBT italian observations carried out with one of these two instrument and distribute fully calibrated 1D extracted spectra to the proposal PI.

  4. Participation to Opticon WG 3.6: FASE (Future Astronomical Software Environment). This EU founded project had the purpose of laying out the user’s requirements, architecture and interfaces of possible future environments for astronomical Data reduction. On top of having actively participated to the WG discussions, the group also developed a prototype to show the feasibility of the project. FASE is currently being considered as the possible software environment for the execution of the data reduction pipelines for the Euclid Satellite data.

  5. DART: Configurable web interface to astronomical databases, provides support also for Cone Search, SIA and SSA VO protocols. It is currently used to publish through Web the XMM-LSS (XMM Large Scale Structure Survey) database, and to support the databases for the VVDS-Sinfoni ESO Large Program MASSIV (access restricted to participants only), the VIMOS ESO Large Program VIPERS, and the XMM-Newton ESA Large Program XMM-LSS, plus the institute-internal version of the zCosmos and VVDS databases.

  6. GOSSIP: spectro-photometric analysis of galaxies through SED fitting. It is a tool to build up galaxy SEDs from observed data (making use of both photometric and spectroscopic information), and then compare the observed SED to those derived from theoretical models, in order to find the fundamental physical parameters of galaxies (like mass, age, Star Formation rate, metallicity, etc). Provided with a handy graphical User Interface, it can use different sets of models (e.g. BC03 or Pegase) and can be used interactively or in batch mode.

Related links :

AstroPy project

DART based Databases

Euclid page

FASE Web page

Italian LBT Spectroscopic Reduction Center

Large Binocular Telescope Italy

Observational Cosmology page

Sampy distribution page

VIPERS project page

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