[AstroPy] NEW fits image viewer, atv clone

nate lust natelust at linux.com
Mon May 3 16:50:19 EDT 2010

Hi all,
Long time python user, first time poster. I work with Joe Harrington at 
the university of central Florida working on getting my phd in 
planetary science. As you may imagine I frequently have need for a 
FITS file viewer program. In the past I have used ds9 with the excellent 
RO package, thanks to Russel for that. However the need to compile 
and install xpa on my systems as well as a desire for a more updated 
graphically pleasing interface lead me to begin a project to write a 
viewer that ran entirely with existing python packages. Qt is the 
toolkit I am most familiar with so I used pyqt to implement the 
graphics. There was also the fact that ds9 was missing some features 
that I had seen in other viewers such as atv. To that end my image 
viewer is a clone and hybrid of both ds9 and atv, called ntv. The home 
page for this can be found at code.google.com/p/ntv. The most stable 
tarball can be found under downloads, while the whole project and be 
seen in the source section using svn. I strove to have feature parody 
with atv on the largest features, with the features most commonly 
used by me implemented first. The last major feature I still need to 
implement is blinking support, hopefully over summer while classes 
are on hold. It is currently good for daily tasks, image/header viewing, 
movie mode for 3d cubes, generating radial profile views, doing basic 
photometry, etc. 

One of the major requirements for me was to have something that 
could be used from the python interpreter, as I often visualize fits files 
and arrays in the corse of writing a pipeline. To this extent I utilized 
the multiprocessing package to enable interaction between the 
interpreter and ntv. 

After installing ntv one simply followes this syntax
from NTV import embed
win = embed.embed()
in order to view standard numpy arrays. It is recommend that this is 
the first import you make in a session as sometimes packages 
conflict (mostly a problem on os x) I have not worked out why this is 

information about dependencies can be found in the readme in the 
tarball. This has been tested on linux and os x, but i dont see why it 
could not work on windows machines as well.

This is still a young project an as such implementing features was put 
at a higher priority over speed / efficiency. Contributions and or 
developers are VERY welcome, both in efficiency and feature wise. I 
tried to write this in such a way to be easily extensible, and made a 
great effort to comment as I went. That being said by coding style 
may not be immediately obvious to anyone and I would be more than 
happy to talk with anyone interested in helping out.

I look forward to comments/criticism both positive and negative. Again 
the project page is at code.google.com/p/ntv

Thank you
Nate Lust

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