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Set up a new computer for astronomy

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

Written based on iOS 10.13.3


1. Download xquartz: https://www.xquartz.org/

X11 is the standard linux graphical window environment and most astronomical software (and anything written for li/unix) requires X11. Terminal is built-in and will work for basic commands, but X11 is required for graphics.


To initiate an X11 session: Launch XQuartz from Applications/Utilities. You will then be able to launch xterm instances from the "Applications" menu. 



2. Install XCode from the App Store


3. Install Macports


4. Install Anaconda

Getting started with conda: https://conda.io/projects/conda/en/latest/user-guide/getting-started.html


5. Install the Legacy Software Stack (with IRAF): https://astroconda.readthedocs.io/en/latest/installation.html

If using IRAF/PyRAF, use python 2.7


6. Follow steps here https://research.iac.es/sieinvens/siepedia/pmwiki.php?n=HOWTOs.IrafMacOSX

  1. Add this line in the login.cl file: task $m2fs = home$m2fs.cl


How I start up IRAF:

1. Open a new terminal window

2. Open an XQuartz window, type: xgterm -sb

3. Move to the folder containing iraf, for example type: cd iraf

4. Activate the environment, type: source activate iraf27

5. Start iraf, type: cl

6. Load up other packages by typing their name

7. Move into the folder containing the data you want to work with



To make other tasks & packages available upon start in IRAF:

1. Let the package be called my_program, with other tasks (my_task1, my_task2, ...) within it

2. Locate the file my_program.cl and the folder called my_program that holds the .cl files for the individual tasks, and move both of these to the folder containing the general login.cl file

3. Add the line to the login.cl file under the section about packages:

task $my_program = home$my_program.cl