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Wed Nov 24, 2004

Analysing astronomical data under Mac OS X

Some notes relevant to astro-types thinking about migrating from other *nix platforms to OS X. People keep asking me about it.

The biggest advantage is avoiding dual-boot arrangements and and messing around with partitions etc., but still having access to commercial packages such as Microsoft Office (as well as iTunes of course!)
Astronomical data analysis packages that have been ported to OS X (not by any means complete):

  • HEAsoft comprising the FTools and XANADU packages for X-ray data analysis (RXTE, ASCA etc.)
  • CIAO for Chandra data analysis
  • SAS v6.1.0 for XMM-Newton data analysis
  • IRAF, a general purpose system for the reduction and analysis of astronomical data (see the dedicated maciraf page)
  • Karma, a "toolkit for interprocess communications, authentication, encryption, graphics display, user interface and manipulating the Karma network data structure".
Packages that have NOT as yet been ported (completely) Other essential packages: As for security, by default, OS X won't allow any connections from outside, unless you explicitly allow them. There is built-in firewall, and encryption of folder contents (FileVault) if you want either of those. As well there aren't all the nasty viruses and crap for Mac at the moment that there are for Windows (although that may change in the future if Apple significantly increases market share!)

Labels: 2004, /reference