Brett M. Morris edited this page Sep 18, 2013 · 38 revisions


There are several packages in addition to Python that must be installed on your machine before running oscaar. Most of these packages have been around for some time in the astronomical community. They are all free and available for download. We apologize for the number of packages that are necessary to download, but we have decided that these packages enable for the most efficient open-source distro that we can provide.

Supported Operating Systems

  • Windows Vista and later. WINDOWS USERS: see the special installation guides for you below.
  • Mac OS 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8 (with caveats). MAC USERS: see the special installation guides for you below.
  • Ubuntu 12.04 and later or similar. LINUX USERS: see the special installation tip for you below

Things to download

  • Python 2.7.X (32-bit): The main language this software is written in. NOTE: download the latest iteration of Python 2, not 3.
  • NumPy and SciPy: Python modules for scientific computing
  • PyFITS 3.1+: A Python module for FITS handling
  • matplotlib 1.2.1+: A Python module for plotting your results
  • wxPython: A GUI toolkit that allows you to press buttons rather than manipulate the code from the command line (...unless you want to!)
  • PyEphem 3.7.5: A Python module providing astronomical calculations within Python
  • Windows only: setuptools0.6+: A Python package setup utility

Notes for Windows Users

Additional install for Windows: it appears that Windows users need to manually install the python "setuptools" package. Click here to download the Windows setuptools installer. You may get 32-bit/64-bit issues if you install the "Python 2.7.X Windows X86-64 Installer" Python build. Just use the "Python 2.7.X Windows Installer" link.

After installation, you will not be able to access Python from the command line by typing the command "python" until you enter this into the command prompt:

set path=%path%;C:\python27

and hit enter. Then you should be able to simply enter "python" and start the Python interpreter.

This set path... command must be done for each Command Prompt that you open unless you follow these directions to add a new path variable in Windows.

Notes for OS X Users

Though OSCAAR was mostly designed on a Mac, installing the required packages on a machine running OS X takes special care. Check our Setup for Mac OS X wiki for advice and support (and commiseration).

Notes for Linux Users

You only need one command to download and install most of the dependencies.

sudo apt-get install python-numpy python-scipy python-matplotlib python-wxgtk2.8 python-pyfits

The only package left is PyEphem (see above for links).


Though the required packages have been stable historically and probably will not go away any time soon, the oscaar team does not take any responsibility for helping you find or install these modules or for problems that arise as a result of changes to future versions of these modules. Sorry! If problems should occur, post them on our Issues page.

Why Python 2 and not 3?

All of the science packages that OSCAAR relies on were written for Python 2 and not all are compatible with Python 3. That's why using the latest iteration of Python 2.

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