Getting started with ChiantiPy


  • Python (developed with versions 2.6 and 2.7; not compatible with version 3.X)
  • Numpy (developed with 1.3.0)
  • Scipy (developed with 0.7.1)
  • Matplotlib requires a GUI library

    PyQt4 or wxPython or PyGTK

    Once one of these is installed, it must be set as the backend in your matplotlibrc file, e.g., backend: Qt4Agg

  • CHIANTI, the atomic database for astrophysical spectroscopy
  • IPython, the IPython command line environment is HIGHLY recommended.

    Invoke it with

    > ipython -pylab

    and the matplotlib libraries will be automatically loaded.

Install the CHIANTI database

The gzipped data tar ball can be downloaded from the CHIANTI website

  • put the file in a convenient directory, cd to the directory and untar the file
  • ChiantiPy uses the environment variable XUVTOP to find the database. Set XUVTOP to the name of the directory where the CHIANTI data tarball was placed. For example

> setenv XUVTOP /data1/xuv/directory.where.the.tarball.was.placed

Some sites have the CHIANTI database maintained as part of a SolarSoft distribution. In that case, simply set XUVTOP to the directory were it resides, usually something like $SSW/packages/chianti/dbase

Install the ChiantiPy package

In order to be compatible with the latest version (7.1) of the CHIANTI atomic database, it is necessary to install the latest version (0.5) of ChiantiPy

The ChiantiPy package can be downloaded from the ChiantiPy project page at Sourceforge, untar it, cd to the directory where it was unpacked, and then, as root

python install

If you do not have root privileges, simply put the ChiantiPy directory in your PYTHONPATH

Note - ChiantiPy interactions with Matplotlib

Some of the ChiantiPy methods ask the user to make a selection. With ChiantiPy, this can be done within the command line shell or with gui dialog widgets using PyQt4 or wxPython. Matplotlib needs to have a backend specified. The default is ‘GTK’ and ChiantiPy will use the command line shell for user input. If the Matplotlib backend is specified to be ‘Qt4Agg’, then the PyQt4 widget set will be used by ChiantiPy. If the Matplotlib backend is specified to be ‘WXAgg’ then the wxPython widget set will be used by ChiantiPy. If the Matplotlib backend is set to something other than the 3 values previously discussed, the command line shell will be used but with unknown success.

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