Astronomical Software on Ubuntu

Many astronomical packages are directly available from the "Debian for Astronomy" project (, see also Section 10).  This document provides information for the installation of most commonly used packages.





2.1. Install IRAF and PyRAF from AstroConda

2.1.1 General brief instructions

If you are already (or going to be) familiar with Conda, which is an open source package management system, then you may prefer to install IRAF/PyRAF from AstroConda channel. AstroConda provides a simple way to plan and extract packages into your environment. You can refer to the documentation of AstroConda for instructions on how to install Legacy Software Stack with IRAF. In short, the installation can be done with:

conda config --add channels
conda create -n iraf27 python=2.7 iraf-all pyraf-all stsci

Note that every time you want to use IRAF/PyRAF (and any other packages in iraf27 environment), you need to activate the env ‘iraf27’ that you have created:

source activate iraf27
### or conda activate iraf27

And to deactivate, run:

source deactivate
### or conda deactivate

See more details on:

2.2  Install IRAF Community Distribution

2.2.1  Install binary packages (under Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and later)

For Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and later, IRAF Community Distribution are available via system package manager “APT”. Although there some major differences between the Community Distribution and the conda version.

Try to install those packages with command:

sudo apt install xterm iraf iraf-dev iraf-noao iraf-noao-dev iraf-wcstools iraf-rvsao xgterm

See more details on:

2.3 Further information

Other IRAF packages available on Ubuntu:


3. IDL  (Exelis IDL on  ESO Internal Link)


4. ESO dfits and fitsort

# sudo apt-get install qfits-tools

#which dfits


#which fitsort



5. ESO Skycat 

Follow instructions on:




6. FITS Viewer (fv) and fitsverify

sudo apt update 

sudo apt get-install fitsverify

sudo apt-get install ftools-fv  

For fv, beware of conflicts with multiple installations of tcl/tk, for instance if Anaconda is installed. Check executable paths:  which tcl, which wish, which fv. If necessary install tk prior to fv (sudo apt install tk).



7. SAO ds9 and other viewers

# sudo apt install saods9

# which ds9


Other data viewer tools available on Ubuntu:


8. QFits View

QFitsView is available directly from Ubuntu repository:

# sudo apt install qfitsview

# which QFitsView

or from the QFitsView page: