[AstroPy] "ASCII" tables that contain non-ASCII characters

Benjamin Alan Weaver baweaver at lbl.gov
Mon Oct 24 17:45:05 EDT 2016

Hello y'all,

We are trying to read "ASCII" tables containing atomic line data
provided by NIST.  When you request the line wavelength data in
angstroms, NIST very helpfully labels the columns with the angstrom
symbol (Å), which is not strictly part of the ASCII character set.

We can read these tables with Table.read() *and* the environment
variable LANG=en_US.utf-8 set.  However, if LANG is not set,
Table.read() fails to decode these files.

As far as I can tell the underlying read() function in astropy.io.ascii
does not accept keywords related to the file encoding.

So two questions:

1. Is the lack of an encoding keyword a bug that should be reported?

2. Is there a workaround that does not rely on LANG being set?

Kia ora koutou,
Benjamin Alan Weaver

We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.
  --Wernher von Braun

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