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TOPCAT is an interactive graphical viewer and editor for tabular data. Its aim is to provide most of the facilities that astronomers need for analysis and manipulation of source catalogues and other tables, though it can be used for non-astronomical data as well. It understands a number of different astronomically important formats (including FITS and VOTable) and more formats can be added.
It offers a variety of ways to view and analyse tables, including a browser for the cell data themselves, viewers for information about table and column metadata, and facilities for 1-, 2-, 3- and higher-dimensional visualisation, calculating statistics and joining tables using flexible matching algorithms. Using a powerful and extensible Java-based expression language new columns can be defined and row subsets selected for separate analysis. Table data and metadata can be edited and the resulting modified table can be written out in a wide range of output formats.
It is a stand-alone application which works quite happily with no network connection. However, because it uses Virtual Observatory (VO) standards, it can cooperate smoothly with other tools in the VO world and beyond, such as VODesktop, Aladin and ds9. Between 2006 and 2009 TOPCAT was developed within the AstroGrid project, and is offered as part of a standard suite of applications on the AstroGrid web site, where you can find information on several other VO tools.
The program is written in pure Java and available under the GNU General Public Licence. It has been developed in the UK within the Starlink and AstroGrid projects, and under PPARC and STFC grants. Its underlying table processing facilities are provided by STIL.
The STIL Tool Set is a set of command-line tools based on STIL, the Starlink Tables Infrastructure Library. It deals with the processing of tabular data; the package has been designed for, but is not restricted to, astronomical tables such as object catalogues. Some of the tools are generic and can work with multiple formats (including FITS, VOTable, CSV, SQL and ASCII), and others are specific to the VOTable format. In some ways, STILTS forms the command-line counterpart of the GUI table analysis tool TOPCAT. The package is robust, fully documented, and designed for efficiency, especially with very large datasets.
Facilities offered include:
CCDPACK contains programs to debias, remove dark current, flatfield, register, resample and normalize data from single- or multiple-CCD instruments. The basic reduction stages can be set up using an X based GUI that controls an automated reduction system so one can to start working without any detailed knowledge of the package (or indeed of CCD reduction). Registration is performed using graphical, script based or automated techniques that keep the amount of work to a minimum. CCDPACK uses the Starlink environment (ascl:1110.012).
GAIA is an image and data-cube display and analysis tool for astronomy. It provides the usual facilities of image display tools, plus more astronomically useful ones such as aperture and optimal photometry, contouring, source detection, surface photometry, arbitrary region analysis, celestial coordinate readout, calibration and modification, grid overlays, blink comparison, defect patching and the ability to query on-line catalogues and image servers. It can also display slices from data-cubes, extract and visualize spectra as well as perform full 3D rendering. GAIA uses the Starlink software environment (ascl:1110.012) and is derived from the ESO SkyCat tool (ascl:1109.019).
ESP (Extended Surface Photometry) determines the photometric properties of galaxies and other extended objects. It has applications that detect flatfielding faults, remove cosmic rays, median filter images, determine image statistics and local background values, perform galaxy profiling, fit 2-D Gaussian profiles to galaxies, generate pie slice cross-sections of galaxies, and display profiling results. It is distributed as part of the Starlink software collection (ascl:1110.012).