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Python for Astronomers

Sérgio A. G. Sousa
CAUP

In Astronomy, like in many other scientific reserch areas, the exploration of data is essencial. The exploration of data includes many topics, including the:

  • gathering of data, coming from simulations or observations;
  • manipulation of the data, to create new readable/usable scientific data;
  • visualization of data, to understand what is going on with the data;
  • communication of the results, using figures for reports/papers/presentatios;

There are many tools available for this purpose, but in most of the cases, it is really necessary to create our own tools, making use of programming languages.

Python is a widely used general-purpose, high-level programming language. Its design philosophy emphasizes code readability, and its syntax allows programmers to express concepts in fewer lines of code than would be possible in languages such as C. Although python is outstanding to solve quick problems, such as most the ones needed for the exploration of data, it can also be used to implement more complete and heavy applications.

In this advanced course it will be presented the more important capabilities of Python and specialized libraries for the exploration of scientific data, with special focus for Astronomy.

Level: All interested people;

Requirements: The attendees should have a basic knowledge on programming. The goal of these advance course is not to teach how to program from scratch.

Each class will have a theoretical part and a practical part (except that there's no theoretical part in class 4). The theoretical parts are open to everyone. The practical classes are limited to 15 people, and are subject to registration.

Those wanting to attend the practical classes should express their interest by sending an e-mail to Carlos J. A. P. Martins with cc to Sérgio A. G. Sousa. The following order of preference will be followed in allocating the places
  1. CAUP students (ie, members of CAUP's training unit)
  2. Other CAUP members
  3. Everyone else

The 15 people with places will be contacted in late September.

Course slides and exercises available here.

Sessão 1: Python basics (T + P)
7 novembro 2013

Attendance limit: unlimited for T, limited for P

Venue: Auditorium (T), class room(P)

Sessão 2: Python with Numpy and Matplotlib (T + P)
21 novembro 2013

Attendance limit: unlimited for T, limited for P

Venue: Auditorium (T), class room(P)

Sessão 3: Science and Astronomy modules (Scipy, PyFits, Pyraf) (T + P)
5 dezembro 2013

Attendance limit: unlimited for T, limited for P

Venue: Auditorium (T), class room(P)

Sessão 4: Interfacing with C (P)
17 dezembro 2013

Attendance limit: limited for P

Venue: Class room(P)