Useful Links

Learning IRAF

Here is a selection of links that I found useful in learning IRAF. I first started off with this very helpful Beginner's Guide which explains a lot of the basics including how to get IRAF up and running. Along side this, I used the UCLA Computing IRAF Setup instructions for some of the tricks. Here are a few helpful hints if you are still having trouble after reviewing these docs:

  • Make sure to open a new xgterm & which is different from your standard xterm window
  • If after following all the tips for getting ximtool to run you still get an error message about cannot open `/usr/include/iraf.h'? then try using ds9 -fifo /home/<user>/iraf/imt1 & instead

Data Analysis with IRAF

After you can open IRAF, use phelp, help, packages, view/edit params for a task and display the sample IRAF image, it is time to move on to some really useful tutorials. There are really two options. The first option is for anyone who is a beginner to data analysis and to IRAF, while the second option is for anyone who knows a bit about data analysis but is new to IRAF. The best approach for the first group is to start with the beginners guide above and work your way through this list of docs (taken from here). Just download the *.Z file and use zcat <file>.ps.Z > <file>.ps and then view using ghostview <file>.ps &. The most helpful combination may be to go through these Tutorials at the same time as you go through these docs as the docs elaborate where the tutorials leave off, but the tutorials provide exact syntax for each step.
  1. A Beginner's Guide to Using IRAF (IRAF Version 2.10), Jeannette Barnes, August 1993.
  2. A User's Guide to CCD Reductions with IRAF, Philip Massey, February 1997.
  3. A User's Guide to Reducing Slit Spectra with IRAF, Phil Massey, Frank Valdes, Jeannette Barnes, April 1992.

    --- OR ---

    A User's Guide to Stellar CCD Photometry with IRAF, Philip Massey and Lindsey Davis, April 1992.
The second group of people may not appreciate all of the extra verbiage in these documents. Instead, you can download the basic Tutorials which will walk through the basics of data reduction for both image and spectral analysis.

And for everything you ever wanted to know about IRAF, you can always goto:

where almost all of the above documents can be found. I found the Recommended Documentation section on this site to be very helpful.