Essential Tools for Professional Astronomers
Computerized analysis is an essential step in the process of research for every professional astronomer and astrophysicist. That step can be extremely time-consuming, though, particularly if the researcher has to home-brew their own code for analyzing observational data or interfacing with databases. PINTofALE was designed both to streamline these processes for identifying atomic spectra and to allow astronomers greater control over them.
The toolkit uses the Interactive Data Language (IDL), a programming language commonly used by astronomers. PINTofALE includes library functions to talk to databases of ultraviolet and X-ray atomic spectra, extract particular spectral features from observational data, and build models from the information.
PINTofALE was originally developed in the late 1990s for studying plasmas, but it was extended to include a larger variety of general-purpose tools for analyzing astronomical data. It is freely available to researchers around the world through the GitHub project hosting service.