ATV is a
program for display and analysis of astronomical images using the
IDL image-processing language. It allows interactive control
of the image scaling, color table, color stretch, and zoom, with
support for world coordinate systems. It also does
point-and-click aperture photometry, simple spectral extractions,
and can produce publication-quality postscript output
An interactive display tool
for astronomical images written in IDL.
Instructions for using ATV
ATV News (November 2011).
new ATV version 3 posted here now requires the Coyote
Graphics library. This change was made because earlier
this year, some routines in the IDL Astronomy User's Library were
modified to depend on Coyote Graphics routines, and this required
a major upgrade to the ATV code. This has several
advantages, the main one being that ATV now works identically in
either "device, decomposed=0" or "decomposed=1" mode. ATV
version 3 also uses the new list functionality that was introduced
in IDL 8.0, so it will not work with earlier IDL versions.
There are several other new enhancements including an improved
widget layout and the excellent cubehelix
color map. See the modification
history and instructions
for full details. I'm calling the newly posted version a "beta"
version since it contains a lot of changes and there might still
be some remaining issues to be fixed, but for the most part it is
What all of this means is that
ATV version 3 now requires IDL 8.0 or higher and requires current
versions of all of the libraries listed below.
If you are using a version of IDL that's older than
8.0, then you will not be able to run the current or future
versions of ATV. I'll keep a copy of the previous
ATV version (2.3) posted here for IDL 7.x users, but those users
should be aware that there may be some weirdness or broken
functionality in some plotting routines if ATV 2.3 is used along
with a current version of the IDL Astronomy User's Library.
TROUBLESHOOTING UPDATE (November 15
2012): If you are using the most recent version of
the coyote library, you may encounter some problems. A recent
change to the cgcolor.pro routine causes atv to crash if you try
to bring up the photometry or statistics windows. There is a
simple temporary fix for this, which is to set one line of
cgcolor.pro back to what it was before this recent update.
In your coyote library directory, edit the cgcolor.pro routine and
find the line that reads
opixel = cgSnapshot(!D.X_Size-3,
!D.Y_Size-3, 1, 1)
Change this line to
opixel = cgSnapshot(!D.X_Size-1, !D.Y_Size-1, 1, 1)
and this should fix the crashing problem for now.
To run ATV, you will need:
For IDL 7.x users, here is ATV version 2.3. (Note disclaimers above
about compatibility issues with the current Astronomy User's
- The atv.pro source code: version 3.0b2,
updated November 21 2011.
- Craig Markwardt's
cmps_form.pro , for setting postscript parameters
- The GSFC IDL
Astronomy User's Library (direct
link to gzipped tar file here). Make sure you have
an up-to-date version of this library!
- The Coyote
library. Note that the current version of the IDL
Astronomy User's Library includes a subdirectory with a subset
of the Coyote routines already, but ATV requires some Coyote
Graphics routines (like cgimage.pro) that are not part of the
IDL Astronomy User's Library distribution. So, you will
need to install a full copy of the Coyote Graphics Library
separately. I recommend deleting that subdirectory from
the IDL Astronomy User's Library and replacing it with a full
installation of the Coyote Graphics Library routines.
- The IDL software package from Excelis Visual Information
Solutions. ATV version 3 requires at least IDL 8.0.
- As of version 2.3, ATV includes initial support for reading FPACK-compressed
files. If you want to read FPACK-formatted files, you'll
need the CFITSIO
library and also the FPACK/FUNPACK
routines from the NASA HEASARC
website. Follow the instructions given on the HEASARC site
to install those routines.
Note about other
versions of ATV:
There are a few alternate versions of ATV that can be found on
other sites, some of them modified to add features specific to
certain telescopes or instruments. These include a version
designed for reduction of Spitzer IRS data (as part of the SMART package), the PhAst
program which includes added astrometry and photometry
functionality, and a very old version of ATV with added HEALPIX
support that's distributed as part of the idlutils
package. However: I take no responsibility for any
forked versions of ATV, and the instructions and information on
this site may not apply to any modified ATV versions that you find
elsewhere. If you're using the idlutils distribution
but don't need to use the HEALPIX support, then I recommend that
you delete the ATV version that came with idlutils, and install
the current version of ATV instead.
If you're looking for the
other kind of ATV, try this
Email me at barth [at] uci [dot] edu .
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