VLT Instrument Pipelines

Latest News:

February 23, 2017: SPHERE pipeline version 0.22.0 released!

The SPHERE pipeline version 0.22.0 has been released to the public. This is the first version of the SPHERE pipeline that includes all necessary recipes as well as fully functional Reflex workflows to reduce SPHERE data from all standard modes of the instruments. The release includes demo data for each of these modes, and tutorials that detail the reduction of the demo data. The tutorials include useful tips on how to improve the results and deal with problems. The current pipeline has still significant limitations that are described in section 6.4 of each tutorial. We expect that a future release will address some of the known limitations and improve the quality of the reduction.

January 27, 2017: MUSE pipeline version 1.6.4 released!

The MUSE 1.6.4 release is a maintenance release with improvements related to the tracing solution and the wavelength calibration, and comes with an updated set of static calibrations.

December 13, 2016: GRAVITY pipeline version 0.9.8 released!

The GRAVITY 0.9.8 release contains numerous improvements and bug fixes found during the commisionning of the instrument.

November 8, 2016: FORS pipeline version 5.3.11 released!

The FORS 5.3.11 adds support for the computation of sky coordinates of the extracted spectra and also fixes a couple of minor issues.

October 20, 2016: X-shooter pipeline version 2.8.4 released!

The X-shooter 2.8.4 pipeline package improves the extraction quality for nodding data with extract-method=NOD due to better choice of extraction window limits.

October 7, 2016: KMOS pipeline version 1.4.0 released!

This release improveѕ the SKY subtraction and provides a more flexible Reflex workflow.

September 27, 2016: VISIR pipeline version 4.3.1 released!

The VISIR 4.3.1 pipeline package fixes a couple minor bugs in the recipes and Reflex workflows.

September 19, 2016: X-shooter pipeline version 2.8.3 released!

Fixed a problem in the error estimate of sky subtracted STARE mode data (sky-method=MEDIAN, default)

To get announcements of new pipeline releases, send an email to eso-pipelines-announce-join@eso.org.

Getting Started

  1. Install the pipeline(s) using RPM packages, MacPorts packages or Source Kits.
  2. Detailed usage information can be found in the individual user manuals and tutorials available here

Three Ways to Run a Pipeline

  1. Reflex is the recommended environment to reduce ESO data. It automatically organizes input files according to their category and runs the entire reduction chain at the push of a button. It supports break points in the reduction sequence in order to inspect and interact with intermediate and final products and rerun the corresponding step if necessary.
  2. Gasgano is a Java-based data file organizer developed and maintained by ESO. It can be used to manage and organize in a systematic way the astronomical data observed and produced by all VLT compliant telescopes. Gasgano is a graphics-based software tool for organising and viewing data files produced by the VLT Control System. Gasgano offers functionalities for data viewing, grouping, sorting, classification, searching, and filtering of data. And, of course, Gasgano will run any requested CPL recipe on the selected data.
  3. Esorex, a command-line utility for running pipeline recipes is also available. It may be embedded by users at their home institute into data reduction scripts for the automation of processing tasks.
The underlying algorithms and recipes are the same for a given instrument pipeline, irrespective if Reflex, Gasgano or Esorex is used.

Installation Instructions

Fedora Linux and Mac OS X

Currently ESO provides binary packages for:

  • Fedora Linux (20, 21, 22, and 23)
  • Mac OS X (10.9, 10.10, 10.11)
Users of those systems are encouraged to install the Instrument Pipeline packages using the RPM packages or the MacPorts packages respectively.
Please follow the installation instructions for RPM packages or MacPorts packages.

Source Kit package installation

Users of operating systems for which no RPM or MacPorts packages are currently available should follow the instructions in this section.

Installations without Reflex

If you want to install pipeline packages without Reflex support please follow the instruction in this section. It applies to all pipeline packages.

Caution: Mac OS X 10.11 with activated System Integrity Protection (SIP):
If you are installing a Source Kit on such a system please make sure that you use this Source Kit installer and not the version included in the Source Kit itself!
  • Download the desired pipeline kit(s) from the Source Kit column in the table below into an empty, temporary directory.
  • Download the Source Kit installer into the same directory.
  • If necessary, make it executable: chmod u+x install_pipelinekit
  • Execute the command: ./install_pipelinekit *-kit-*.*
  • After the installation the temporary directory with its contents can be deleted.

Reflex based Pipeline Installations

For an installation of pipeline packages with Reflex support please follow the instructions in this section.

Instrument Pipeline Packages

Table rows marked with a blue background indicate Reflex workflow availability.
Instrument Release Notes Source Kit User Manual Cookbook Additional Documents Additional Datasets Reflex Tutorials Status
AMBER 2016-04-01 4.3.4 4.3.4
Operational on hold
CRIRES 2016-10-12 2.3.4 1.13
Operational on hold
DETMON 2016-02-15 1.3.0 1.3.0
Operational on hold
EFOSC 2016-04-01 2.2.5 1.0
Demo Data
End of maintenance
FORS 2016-11-08 5.3.11 5.4
Demo Data (29 MB)
Tutorial: 1.1 (FORS-IMG)
Tutorial: 1.1 (FORS-PMOS)
Tutorial: 1.10 (FORS-SPEC)
Demo Data: 0.8
Operational on hold
GIRAFFE 2016-07-25 2.15 2.15
Standard Calibration Files page
Tutorial: 1.0
Demo Data: 0.2
Operational on hold
GRAVITY 2016-10-14 0.9.8 0.2
Tutorial: 0.2
Demo Data: 0.5
HAWKI 2016-04-04 1.8.21 1.12
Demonstration Package (2,5 GB)
Operational on hold
ISAAC 2016-02-15 6.1.5 1.4
Static Calibration Files (50 MB)
End of maintenance
KMOS 2016-10-07 1.4.0 3.0
Tutorial: 2.0
Demo Data: 1.2
MIDI 2017-04-01 2.8.6 2.8.5
End of maintenance
MUSE 2017-01-25 1.6.4 1.6.4
MUSE IFU 6 trace tables
Leagacy MUSE static calibrations
Tutorial: 9.0 (muse)
Tutorial: 1.0 (muse-zap)
Demo Data: 1.4
NACO 2016-02-15 4.4.1 1.1
Operational on hold
SINFONI 2016-03-03 2.9.0 19.6
ADA IV 2006 paper
Calibration Database Example (255 MB)
Demonstration Package (1.2 GB)
Tutorial: 1.6
Demo Data: 0.2
Operational on hold
SOFI 2016-02-15 1.5.6 1.2
End of maintenance
SPHERE 2017-02-21 0.22.0 1.22
Tutorial: 1.0 (ifs)
Tutorial: 1.0 (ird-img)
Tutorial: 1.0 (ird-lss)
Tutorial: 1.0 (zpl-img)
Tutorial: 1.0 (zpl-pol)
Demo Data: 1.0
UVES 2016-03-03 5.7.0 22.12 (UVES)
Demonstration Package (2.0 GB)
Tutorial: 6.7 (UVES)
Tutorial: 1.6 (UVES-FIBRE)
Demo Data: 4.4
Operational on hold
VIMOS 2016-07-27 3.1.7 7.0
Demonstration Package (1.7 GB)
Tutorial: 2.3 (VIMOS-IFU)
Tutorial: 2.0 (VIMOS-MOS)
Demo Data: 0.4
Operational on hold
VISIR 2016-09-27 4.3.1 1.7
Tutorial: 1.1
Demo Data: 0.3
Operational on hold
XSHOOTER 2016-10-20 2.8.4 12.12
Additional NIR telluric model calatog (190 MB)
Tutorial: 2.11
Demo Data: 1.2
Operational on hold

Pipelines Status

The pipeline status determines the level of ESO support in fixing the software. For any help with installation and usage of a pipeline, please contact the helpdesk ticketing system (e-mail to usd-help@eso.org or "Ask for help" link in he User Portal homepage). ESO internal (operations) users should request support from the pipeline developers team using JIRA. Here are the possible entries:
  • Active: Pipelines that are affected by a data product upgrade are considered active in the sense that a project team is actively working on them. These pipelines are fully supported and have the highest priority for support. The support consists in prompt evaluation of all requests.
  • Operational on hold: Pipelines that are on hold are not under active development and are of lower priority for support. Pipelines are put into this status when they are considered to be essentially completed, i.e. no enhancements or upgrades are currently under way. The software support consists in porting these pipelines to new CPL versions, carrying out emergency repairs and fixing trivial problems. The User Support Department will evaluate and answer if possible the requests for help received via helpdesk (usd-help@eso.org), but by default there will be no available support from pipeline developers.
  • End of maintenance: Pipelines in this status are the lowest priority for support. The only work performed on these pipelines is to make sure they can still run in the current ESO environment. The User Support Department evaluates and answers if possible the requests for help received via helpdesk (usd-help@eso.org). Tickets reporting problems on the pipeline will not receive any software support.


Additional tools for data visualisation and analysis.


Previous Pipeline Releases

The Pipeline Systems Department also makes these data reduction pipelines available to the user community. They are based on older versions of CPL and can in general not be installed together.

With links to the instrument pages
Release Information Release File
Includes CPL,Gasgano,EsoRex,
and static calibration data
Users Manual and Documentation Data Sets
UVES (DISCLAIMER) 2.9.10 (2012-06-13) 2.9.10 (MIDAS based) UVES Pipeline User Manual 2.9.10
FLAMES-UVES Pipeline User Manual 2.9.10
A set of reference and master calibration data is included in the pipeline package.
MIDAS based release is offered with very limited support. We recommend users to use the Reflex based kit release.

Publications, Reference Documents, and Links

A list of Data Reduction Frequently Asked Questions is available.

The ESO Quality Control Group processes VLT data and monitors the instrument and data quality and also provides a summary of current pipeline status.

A Science Data Product Forum is available to exchange ideas, methods, software…

If you make use of Reflex workflows in a scientific publication, please consider citing Reflex. You may reference the following paper: Automated Data Reduction Workflows for Astronomy: The ESO Reflex Environment, 2013, Freudling, W., et al., Astron.Astrophys., 559, A96 (Bibtex entry)

The latest applicable version of the Data Flow for VLT/VLTI Instruments Deliverable Specifications (VLT-SPE-ESO-19000-1618) is version 3.