SAOImage DS9 – astronomical imaging and data visualization application

SAOImage DS9 is an open source astronomical imaging and data visualization application. DS9 supports FITS images and binary tables, multiple frame buffers, region manipulation, and many scale algorithms and colormaps. It provides for easy communication with external analysis tasks and is highly configurable and extensible via XPA and SAMP.

DS9 is the next version of the popular SAOtng display program. It is a Tk/Tcl application which utilizes the SAOtk widget set. It also incorporates the new X Public Access (XPA) mechanism to allow external processes to access and control its data, GUI functions, and algorithms. DS9 supports the direct display of FITS images and binary tables, multiple frame buffers, region cursor manipulation, many scale algorithms and colormaps, and easy communication with external analysis tasks. It is highly configurable and extensible to meet the evolving needs of the astronomical community. SAOImage DS9 is composed of approximately 20 open source packages.

DS9 is a Tcl/Tk application. The GUI is implemented as a very thin layer of Tk. The first release of SAOImage DS9 was made available in 1999.

Features include:

  • Configurable graphical user interface
  • Analysis functionality includes:
    • Pixel Table.
    • Mask Parameters.
    • Contours – curves along which the pixels have a constant value. DS9 can create and display contours as an overlay on a data image.
    • Coordinate Grids – create and display coordinate grids as an overlay on an image
    • Smoothing – implemented on a per-channel basis for RGB.
    • Name Resolution
    • Image Servers:
      • SAO-DSS.
      • ESO-DSS I/II.
      • STSCI-DSS I/II.
      • IPAC-2MASS.
      • NRAO-VLA FIRST.
      • NRAO-NVSS.
      • HEASARC-SkyView.
    • Archives:
      • NVO Image Mosaic Service.
      • Chandra.
      • ROSAT All-Sky (MPE/MPG).
      • NVSS (NRAO).
      • 4MASS (NRAO).
      • SIRTF FLS/VLA (NRAO).
      • VLA First (NRAO).
    • Full support for loading, displaying, filtering and saving catalogs.
    • Overlay symbols from multiple catalogs on the current image:
      • Database: NED, SIMBAD, DENIS, SkyBot.
      • Optical: ASCC-2.5, Carlsberg Meridian 14, GSC 1.2, GSC 2.2, GSC 2.3, AC 2000.2, NOMAD, PPMX, SAO J2000, SDSS Release 5, SDSS Release 6, SDSS Release 7, SDSS Release 8, Tycho-2, USNO-A2.0, USNO-B1.0, USNO UCAC2, USNO UCAC2 Bright Star Sup, USNO UCAC3.
      • Infrared: 2MASS Point Sources, IRAS Point Sources.
      • High Energy: Chandra Source, 2XMMi Source, Second ROSAT PSPC.
      • Radio: FIRST Survey, NVSS.
      • Observation Logs: Chandra Archive, CFHT, Exposures, ESO Science Archive, HST Archive, XMM Observation.
    • Catalog Tool.
    • Line Plot Tool.
    • Bar Plot Tool.
    • Scatter Plot Tool.
    • Virtual Observatory:
      • Chandra-Ed Archive Server.
      • New Rutgers X-ray Analysis Server.
      • Back-up Rutgers X-ray Analysis Server.
    • Analysis Command Log.
  • Supports advanced features including:
  • 2-D, 3-D and RGB frame buffers.
  • Mosaic images.
  • Tiling.
  • Blinking.
  • Geometric markers.
  • Colormap manipulation.
  • Scaling.
  • Arbitrary zoom.
  • Cropping.
  • Rotation.
  • Pan.
  • Variety of coordinate systems.
  • Catalog matching.
  • Enhanced Plot Tool.
  • Interactive region analysis.
  • Backup and Restore.
  • File Formats supported: FITS, FITS Image, FITS Table, FITS Binary Events Table, FITS HEALPIX Table, FITS Data Cube, FITS Multiple Extension Data Cube, FITS Multiple Extension Multiple Frames, FITS Mosaic, FITS Mosaic Data Cube, FITS RGB, Split FITS, Photo, Data Array, External Format Support, External Analysis Support, Region Files, Color Lookup Table, WCS, Preference File, Startup File, and TCL.

Website: ds9.si.edu
Support: Documentation
Developer: William Joye, Eric Mandel, Steve Murray, John Roll
License: Variety of open source license agreements: GPL, LGPL, BSD

Return to Astronomical Data Analysis Home Page


Make a Donation
Click the button to make a donation via flattr. Donations help us to maintain and improve the site. You can also donate via PayPal.


Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, alternatives to Google, fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
Share this article

Share your Thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.