Short description: 
An overview of computing facilities in Astrophysics

IT in the Department of Physics is run by Physics IT Support. The Astrophysics sub-department mainly uses Apple Macintosh Systems and have access to several cluster computers for users with high-performance computing needs.

Categories: Astrophysics

Short description: 
Setup and usage of IRAF, for use by PyRAF in virtual Python

Unless and until PyRAF is added to the Python library sets in MacPorts, it is necessary to install it into one's virtual Python environment; installing PyRAF requires an active IRAF to be available; but SciSoft's IRAF is too entangled with SciSoft's Python libraries to be employed separately. Herewith instructions on how to set up the freestanding 64-bit IRAF, which can be installed from Self-Service if necessary, for this purpose.

Please see:

Categories: Astro software | Astrophysics | IRAF | PyRAF | virtual Python

Short description: 
Creating and using a virtual Python setup, using Central MacPorts

This document describes how to use MacPorts's Python libraries, and to install other packages into your own library directory, using a virtual-Python setup to layer packages of your choice on top of our centrally-build MacPorts Python and its library set.

PLEASE NOTE: This replaces the previous advice, which included use of mysterious environment variables and Activations, and the file .pydistutils.cfg in the home directory. Said advice is now deprecated.

Categories: Astro software | Astrophysics | IRAF | PyRAF | python | virtual Python

Short description: 
Using MacPorts's Python instead of the system copy

OBSOLETE: This document describes how to use MacPorts's Python libraries, and to install other packages into your own library directory, without using a virtual-Python setup. This is obsoleted by:

Categories: Astro software | Astrophysics | Mac | OS X | macports | python

Short description: 
How to access Apple Screen Sharing to give yourself a Apple desktop screen session

All OS X 10.8 and above Apple desktop systems have Apple Screen Sharing enabled which allows you to remotely access a Apple desktop system environment.

If you are external to the Physics Department network you will need to first connect to either VPN or open a ssh tunnel on port 5900 to the department before you can connect to the systems.

Categories: Apple | Astrophysics | Mac | OS X | Remote Access | Theory | VNC

Short description: 
Configuration settings to make full use of Centrally-maintained printers

At some stage in the process of installing a printer, you should be asked to specify optional features. This page attempts to document the extra facilities of the printers maintained by Central Physics, which for any one type tend to have a uniform set of extras. For a list of Central-Physics printers (by queue name, type and location), please see List of Printers in Physics.

Categories: Apple | Astrophysics | Laptops | Linux | Mac | OS X | Printing | Theory | Windows

Short description: 
Announcements of new and updated software for Astro Macs

Please note: This Page is an experiment which covers only Astrophysics software for MacOS X, and which at the time of writing is maintained manually. If you spot any errors, omissions or broken links, please contact IT Support at the usual e-mail address, or use the Comments link at the foot of this page.

Categories: Astro software | Astrophysics

Short description: 
How to install Dropbox

Dropbox is available to install via the Self Service application. If you are on a Apple Desktop System you may need to logout and back in again for Dropbox to work.

Please Note:

  • Be very careful of the type of data you store in your Dropbox folder. Consider any data stored in your Dropbox folder to be in the public domain.

Categories: Apple | Astrophysics | Mac | OS X | Theory | dropbox

Short description: 
Circumnavigating the mysteries of keyboard layouts under MacOS X

MacOS X systems, as delivered in (at least) Astrophysics, have both UK keyboards and the British default keymappings. This Article is intended for those (like the author) who need to type "#include <stdio.h>" more often than "£1023.79".

This article has been adapted from "On Currency Symbols and Musical Notation" and "The Hash key in Aquamacs" from the old AstroWiki. My thanks to Ryan Houghton for contributing the latter.

Categories: Apple | Astrophysics | HOWTO | Mac | OS X

Short description: 
Introduction to transferring files between systems

The file-transfer utilities rsync and unison have one very useful feature in common: If a file already exists at the destination end, only the differences are actually copied. In particular, if the files are the same, nothing gets transferred. This is most obviously useful when updating a massive set of files over a slow network, but is also a great timesaver if the transfer is interrupted part of the way through (restart to resume), or if the source fileset may have changed while we were copying it across.

Categories: Apple | Astrophysics | HOWTO | Laptops | Linux | Mac | Network | OS X | Software