What is IDL?

On the odd chance the reader is an astronomer who does not know what IDL is, it is the Interactive Data Language. This is a commercial package sold by RSI. It was built to do data reduction and analysis in an interactive way, but with enough functionality to write scripts to automate the process. Personally, the author dislikes it (having once called the bastard child of FORTRAN and C shell) but it works well at what does, which is fast numerical calculations in a complete environment.

What do I need to use IDL? Option 1

One of the most useful, basic set of packages is the IDL Astronomy User's Library. This has been around since the last millenium, and it contains useful tools for reading and writing FITS files, including tables, math, statistics, plotting, photometry, image display, coordinate transformations, etc.
If you get the Princeton tools below, you do not need this package.

What do I need to use IDL? Option 2

There is a set of useful routines developed at Princeton as part of the SDSS spectroscopic pipeline, which includes the GSFC IDL Astronomy User's Library. These are used by the DEEP2 pipeline and by XIDL. These routines and the help pages discussing them, where written assuming that you would be using their software. Below I link to the webpage that describes how to install the packages and setup your IDL to find them. There are similar discussions in the DEEP2 and XIDL pipeline web pages.

Gosh, wouldn't it be nice if I could just get everything at once?

If you act now, you can!
Below are precompiled versions of the IDL routines and the XIDL and DEEP packages. They exist for IDL 6.3 on Intel Macs. One version is for the Xeon architecture, and one version is for the older Intels. You can find out which version you want by clicking About This Mac. If it says Xeon, get the Xeon version. Both are compiled under Leopard.

Note: both include a .idlenv file for path information!
Note: both include all of the calibration files required for DEIMOS and HiRes.
Intel Mac
Xeon Intel Mac
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Last modified: Wed Oct 14 10:20:02 PDT 2009