Hands-on Exercises for Learning IRAF

Previous abstract Next abstract

Session 94 -- Education/Demonstrations
Oral presentation, Friday, January 14, 10:15-11:45, Salons A/B Room (Crystal City Marriott)

[94.02] Hands-on Exercises for Learning IRAF

Jeannette Barnes (NOAO)

The Image Reduction and Analysis Facility (IRAF) has been in use in the astronomical community for many years now as a major tool for reducing and analyzing astronomical data in the optical wavelengths. IRAF is being used in the classroom setting as well as an instructional tool in the lab to teach the basics of observational astronomy. One of the challenges facing those of us involved with the IRAF project is the best way to introduce users to IRAF itself and to new reduction procedures. Some users prefer ``cookbooks''; others like to explore and find the online help pages sufficient; still others would prefer an overview document that summarizes the steps and nothing more. These are the same problems that instructors must face in the classroom or lab environment when they decide to use IRAF as a tool for students to learn more about astronomy.

This presentation explores yet another way to help users ease into the IRAF environment. A set of IRAF hands-on exercises were developed to compliment IRAF lectures presented earlier this year. These exercises were expanded and have been made available for general use. The exercises include real data sets provided by Kitt Peak astronomers and cover general IRAF procedures, CCD reductions, photometry, and spectral extractions and wavelength calibration.

The material presented in this talk may be of value to anyone teaching astronomy to undergraduate students and wishing to use IRAF as a teaching aid. The exercises will also be available at the general IRAF demo planned for the duration of the AAS meeting.

Friday program listing