RFS: saods9 -- astronomical image tool
I seek a sponsor:
saods9 - Astronomical image tool
DS9 is an application for astronomical imaging and data
DS9 is the modern imtool used by astronomers. It is most
distinguished by its support for displaying 16 bit greyscale images
(such as FITS). Most tools (such as GIMP and Photoshop) will read
an approximation to such files, and only store the most significant
8 bits of data. DS9 works in full precision, and uses various
display parameters to map input data of high dynamic-range into 8
bit data which can be displayed on the screen.
Available parameters include: brightness, contrast, false color, and
nonlinear input mapping (such as logarithm, square root, square,
Although it may be useful in other fields, DS9 includes a fair
number of features specific to astronomy. There is an astronomical
"name resolver" which allows a lookup of an arbitrary named object
to its coordinates. Given the coordinates of a field, online
archive servers may be queried, and an image retrieved. DS9 thusly
implements a preliminary "Virtual Observatory".
DS9 is entirely controllable from external programs ("XPA"), which
simplifies complex tasks such as realtime or batch analysis.
Images may be aligned by their WCS (World Coordinate System)
keywords, and then "blinked" to search for moving objects.
It likes to read FITS files, but its okay if you don't have any: it
will download data from one of the sky surveys for an arbitrary
celestial region (Go to: Analysis, DSS Server. Enter a name like
"M51", or "zeta persei"). Notice that the coordinates are shown for
each pixel value. Read the FITS header for text information on the
currently-displayed data. Manipulate the display parameters
(brightness and contrast) by right-dragging over the image (vertically
and horizontally). Change the brighness mapping with the "Scale"
menu. "Remotely" zoom in with "xpaset -p ds9 zoom to 2". Fun, no?
Its an important tool, regularly used for research grade analysis.
I've modified the build to use Debian's shared libraries, rather than
building the ones (Tcl/Tk,etc.) that are included upstream.
I tested it on an 64 bit machine; which works. I've been using this
package for a while now, as have a number of other people.
I'm interested in comments on my packaging and in finding a sponsor.
The world of astronomers (myself included) will be grateful. During a
two week period, there were ~20 people/machines whose apt tools were
retrieving my Packages.gz.
Note that the binary package  doesn't correspond to my diff, but it
is functionally equivalent (I haven't updated the repository since
rebuilding the package).