[AstroPy] Practical Python for Astronomers web tutorial

Tom Aldcroft aldcroft at head.cfa.harvard.edu
Mon May 23 10:18:49 EDT 2011

My colleagues and I would like to announce the availability of a web
tutorial aimed at teaching Python to astronomers through a series of
interactive workshops:


Practical Python for Astronomers is a series of hands-on workshops to
explore the Python language and the analysis tools it provides. The
emphasis is on using Python to solve real-world problems that
astronomers are likely to encounter in research.  Some features:

- Workshops immediately use plotting, analysis, and file reading tools.
- Along the way elements of the Python language are introduced.
- Workshops are interactive using examples run by participants on their laptops.
- Comprehensive instructions a given for installing a full Python environment.

There are two goals.  First is to provide tutorials suitable for
self-study by those wishing to learn Python for astronomy.  The
greater goal is for those knowledgable in Python to teach the workshop
series at their local institutions, adapting the content as desired.
To that end we have developed the content in Sphinx RestructuredText
and hosted the source on github at
https://github.com/python4astronomers/. Anyone interested can clone
the repository or download a tarball and make modifications needed to
present the material locally.  We would also welcome comments, fixes,
or suggestions for improvement. This can be done as a Github issue or
pull request, or by sending email to aldcroft at head.cfa.harvard.edu.

The workshop material here was presented in the Spring of 2011 at the
Harvard / Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. A range of about 25 to
50 people participated in the different workshops, which were 1.5
hours in duration.  One key accomplishment was installing a working
Python with NumPy, SciPy, and IPython on over 50 laptops (MacOS,
linux, and Windows) during a single session.

Tom Aldcroft
Tom Robitaille
Brian Refsdal
Gus Muench

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