Using Python to Analyze Datacubes in Astronomy

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2025 Stierlin Ct. · Mountain View, CA

How to find us

We are in the Unite meeting room. Look for signs directing to building.

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This is a collaboration with the Bay Area Python Interest Group (BAyPIGgies) [1][2][3]



In this talk, David will discuss how he used Python to extract scientific information from a data cube. He used the astronomical instrument, NIFS (Near-Infrared Integral Field Spectrometer), on the 8-m Gemini North telescope in Hawaii to acquire observations of the stunning, hourglass planetary nebula, HB 12. This instrument spreads light out into a spectrum over a small region of the sky. The output data is in the form of a data cube, with sky coordinates along the x and y directions and wavelength along the z direction. Spectra of planetary nebulae are important for understanding their structure and composition. David will discuss the Python scripts he used to analyze these data. Additionally, this talk will also cover the plotting library APLpy, which can be used to make publication quality figures.


David Clark has used Python extensively during his career as an astronomer. He graduated with a BA in Physics from Colby College in 2001 and received a doctorate in astronomy from the University of Florida in 2007. His Ph.D. thesis focused on a study of star cluster populations hosting black holes in a nearby galaxy. After Florida, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow and then investigator/resident astronomer for seven years at the Institute of Astronomy in Ensenada, Mexico. His accomplishments include creating a database and on-line interface for a catalog of over 600 planetary nebulae as well as studying the shapes and kinematics of planetary nebulae. Currently, he is working as a data science consultant as he transitions careers from astronomy to data science.

Meeting Schedule:

7:30 pm Networking (catering provided)

8:00 pm Presentation

9:30 pm Event ends

Sponsored by BayPIGgies


This is a collaboration with the Bay Area Python Interest Group (BayPIGgies) [1]. Join their mailing list [2].