TARA (Tools for ACIS Review & Analysis)

February 2011

TARA is a package of  tools in the IDL language for visualizing and analyzing x-ray astronomical data in FITS format.   The top-level applications in TARA are Event Browser (described below) and ACIS Extract (described on its own web page ).

Download and installation instructions are below .

Event Browser

Event Browser is an interactive program which addresses the problem of filtering, visualizing, and analyzing event list data.   Some ACIS observers continue to find it helpful during the early stages of data analysis when flexible interactive filtering and visualization are desirable.  (Definitive and accurate reduction of ACIS data must of course be done with the CIAO software from the CXC.)  Other x-ray instruments use Event Browser for working with calibration data.    A searchable user's guide is available in PDF, or in HTML.

Analysis Widgets

The low-level analysis widgets used in Event Browser and acis_extract are very general and may be called from the IDL prompt or from your own IDL programs.
function_1d, id, x, y
instead of the PLOT command. The parameter ``id'' should be an undefined variable.
function_2d, id, image
instead of the TVSCL, SHADE_SURF, SURFACE, or CONTOUR commands. If your image is stored in a FITS file (instead of in an IDL variable), try using the fits_viewer tool (no parameters).
dataset_1d, id, x
instead of the HISTOGRAM and PLOT commands.
dataset_2d tool
dataset_2d, id, x, y
instead of the HIST_2D, TVSCL, SHADE_SURF, SURFACE, or CONTOUR commands.
true_color_image, id, hue_image, value_image
true_color_image, id, red_image, green_image, blue_image, /RGB
dataset_1d, id, x1, DATASET_NAME='One'
dataset_1d, id, x2, DATASET_NAME='Two'

Download Instructions

Download the latest version of TARA (the "tara{date}.tar.gz" file with the most recent date).
If you end up using the animation tool in Event Browser you may wish to download a slightly improved version of the RSI's program cw_animate.pro .

Installation Instructions (unix)

IDL Program (.pro) Files:

Place the files you downloaded in an appropriate place, then unzip and untar the tarball, e.g.
gunzip tara2008jan19.tar.gz
tar -xvf tara2008jan19.tar
Arrange for the directories tara, tara/event_browser, tara/utilities, & tara/widget_tools to be in your IDL path. The procedure for doing this depends on how your IDL site is administered.  If you use the environment variable IDL_PATH at your site, you could add an entry to your existing list of paths, e.g.
setenv IDL_PATH '+/home/mymachine/patb/idl/tara:path1:path2:path3'
Or, if you use a personal IDL startup file you could put a statement similar to this in it:
!PATH = expand_path( '+/home/mymachine/patb/idl/tara:' + !PATH )

Third-party IDL Libraries:

You must also have Wayne Landsman's library of IDL routines , February 2011 version or later in your IDL path.

Shared Libraries:

Two of the display programs in TARA (dataset_2d, dataset_3d) use small C programs found in tara/utilities/indexed_add.c.  These must be compiled into a "shared library" so they can be called from IDL using the CALL_EXTERNAL() mechanism.

TARA is distributed with this shared library already constructed for the Solaris, OS-X, and linux operating systems.  To configure TARA simply run the IDL program tara_install.  At the end of tara_install  the tool function_2d is run to test the shared library -- if it runs without error then the shared library is configured correctly.

If the shared libarary has not been built for your operating system then tara_install will attempt to build it using the IDL utility MAKE_DLL.  

Installation for Multiple Platforms

If your TARA installation is accessible from only a single operating system, then you may simply put the indexed_add.so and/or indexed_add_64.so libraries in the tara/utilities/ directory.  If however you wish a single TARA installation to be shared by multiple operating systems then of course indexed_add libraries must be compiled for each operating system.  TARA supports such a situation by FIRST looking for indexed_add.so or indexed_add_64.so in the (platform-dependent) user's path ($PATH), and then looking in the (possibly platform-independent) tara/utilities/ directory.  Thus the TARA installer should simply put each platform's indexed_add.so or indexed_add_64.so in a directory that's in the default path for most users on that platform, e.g /usr/local/bin/ or /usr/local/rsi/idl/bin/.

Contact Patrick Broos if you have problems or questions about this software or if you would like to hear about updates to the code.
Patrick Broos         patb@astro.psu.edu
Software Engineer, ACIS Team @PSU

Astronomy & Astrophysics
Pennsylvania State University
525 Davey Lab
University Park, PA 16802