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    Welcome to the IRAF Homepage! IRAF is the Image Reduction and Analysis Facility, a general purpose software system for the reduction and analysis of astronomical data. IRAF is written and supported by the National Optical Astronomy Observatories (NOAO) in Tucson, Arizona. NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation

    IRAF V2.16 Release Now Available

    (Updated March 22, 2012)

      The release of the IRAF V2.16 system featuring Virtual Observatory (VO) capabilities is now available. This release covers both 32-bit and 64-bit Linux and Mac OSX systems (Intel and PPC) and includes modified sources for some 30 external packages. This system is recommended for all users, and although the VO features are optional, v2.16 contains a number of important bug fixes (especially for those on 64-bit platforms). In addition, v2.16 contains a number of new capabilities affecting all tasks in the system:

        • Enhanced @-file templates - Expansion of MEF files and tables
        • New VO-CL Command Language - New VO builtin functions
        • URL Support in all tasks - Access to remote data
        • VOTable Support in all tasks - Transparent XML support
        • Application interoperability - Desktop messaging
        • New VO External Package - New VO Toolbox
        • Removal of all license restrictions - IRAF is now free

      These are described in more detail in the distribution README file. Detailed release notes are available in the release README file and are included below. Detailed descriptions of the VO capabilities and a quick-start guide are in preparation and will be available shortly.

      Video demonstrations of the new VO capabilities in the system are available here (YouTube Overview) and here (downloadable MP4 Tutorial).

      IRAF v2.16 Distribution Files:

      IRAF v2.16 is now distributed as a single-file download for each supported platform. Installation is now just a matter of unpacking this single tarfile and executing the iraf install script. Similarly, v2.16 also features a new external package mechanism to automate the download and installation of packages. A full list of features and changes is detailed in the Release Notes.

      This release include a unified linux architecture suitable for all 32-bit Linux distributions. Similarly, the macosx architecture is now a Universal (Intel and PPC) 32-bit distribution. On 64-bit linux platforms the architecture name is linux64, the macinte architecture name now refers explicitly to 64-bit OSX (Intel). Despite the architecture name changes, older external packages can continue to be used (see the Release Notes and 64-bit Porting Guide for details).

    24-Bit XImtool Now Available

    (Updated September 1, 2009)

    The X11IRAF v2.0 release featuring XImtool support for 24-bit displays is now available as for general use from the following URLs:

    Limited internal-testing has shown this package is stable enough for wider testing within the user-community, however it should be remembered this is a first release and some problems and platform-specific issues might still be found. Known issues (and existing features for those not familiar with XImtool) are outlined in the release notes available at

    This release provides only the existing X11IRAF applications with 24-bit X11 display support. See the Notes-V2.0 document above for detailed changes.

    IRAF Support at

      Discussions have been underway for a while within NOAO regarding how best to balance the needs of internal projects, the support activities, and new projects. The result is a mutual collaboration in which IRAF development is resuming within NOAO on a modest scale, and the community support and development activities at will be encouraged and supported for those NOAO employees supporting the site.

      User support remains the primary responsibility of Users are encouraged to Register at that site post questions to the forums. These forums also serve as a searchable online archive of all email sent to the old iraf helpdesk.

Past Features:

What is it? How do I get it?

IRAF is the "Image Reduction and Analysis Facility". The main IRAF distribution includes a good selection of programs for general image processing and graphics, plus a large number of programs for the reduction and analysis of optical and IR astronomy data (the "noao" packages). Other external or layered packages are available for applications such as data acquisition or handling data from other observatories and wavelength regimes such as the Hubble Space Telescope (optical), EUVE (extreme ultra-violet), or ROSAT and AXAF or Chandra (X-ray). These external packages are distributed separately from the main IRAF distribution but can be easily installed. The IRAF system also includes a complete programming environment for scientific applications, which includes a programmable Command Language scripting facility, the IMFORT Fortran/C programming interface, and the full SPP/VOS programming environment in which the portable IRAF system and all applications are written.

IRAF is freely available on all platforms via anonymous ftp to our server at If you are unsure about whether IRAF can help you, we have a FAQ (frequently-asked questions list) to answer this particular question.