If you are new to Python, we're recommending that you install
distribution on your computer. But if you already are up and running and happy with some other
Python install, that's fine too, but you will want to make sure that astropy is installed (Anaconda installs/updates astropy automatically)..
is the general documentation for the various packages included in
And for writing/debugging python code, many of you use jupyter notebooks, which work fine. I have also found using
the Spyder environment
to be helpful.
First of all, try python inline help. For example, help on
the scatter command can be obtained by saying help(plt.scatter)
(presuming you've already loaded the pyplot package, i.e. import
matplotlib.pyplot as plt)
Second, check some online tutorials/references, such as:
Third (or maybe first), try THE GOOGLE. For example, if
I want to figure out how to fit a curve to data using python, I'll just
google fit curve to data python. Or if I have a bizarre error message that I don't understand, I'll google <bizarre error message> python. adding astropy
to the search will often give you astro-specific results as well, which
can be particularly helpful. You may have to poke around with the
results of those searches to find the best answer, but it usually works
Fourth, ask your classmates, or Joe Curro, or me. I put this last not
because we are reluctant to help -- we're happy to do so! -- but rather
because the first three things are available to you 24/7 and give
immediate (although admittedly not always helpful) responses.
A survey of coding tools used by research astronomers at all levels (left)
and PhD astronomy students (right).
Taken from Momcheva &