Python, one of the foremost high-level programming languages, has played a growing role in the analysis of astronomical data. With the recent release of a new software package, SunPy, it’s now easier than ever for solar physicists to use Python as well.
An example of a SunPy-generated Map visualization using data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory’s AIA instrument. The bottom panel shows a zoomed-in view from the top panel, focusing on an erupting flare. [Adapted from The SunPy Community et al. 2020]
Juggling Ones and Zeros
The modern era of astronomy relies heavily on computer software to advance our understanding of the universe. Long gone are the days of sketching what we see through telescope eyepieces; now astronomers receive their telescope observations in the form of files full of data that must be carefully analyzed using complex code bases.
Preferences for one programming language over another evolve over time as our needs evolve — and Python is currently a rising star. Major companies like Google, Wikipedia, and Facebook all make use of Python, and astronomers are increasingly adopting Python for their data analysis in place of past staples like Fortran and IDL.
A Shared Enterprise
The field of solar physics ...