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Last modified: December 2009

AHELP for CIAO 4.2


Context: tools


Run CIAO tasks from DS9's Analysis menu


`dax' is a suite of scripts that allow users to run some common CIAO tasks from within ds9. Many of the commands have been stripped down to the bare-bones and only minimal parameter are exposed to user.

Getting Started

The commands are stored in the file $ASCDS_INSTALL/config/ciao.ds9 and are automatically loaded when ds9 is launched within CIAO.

If the commands are not loaded for any reason, the user can explicitly point to the file in the ds9 -analysis switch:

unix% ds9 -analysis $ASCDS_INSTALL/config/ciao.ds9 ...

Under ds9's Analysis menu, at the bottom will be a 'CIAO' option. Users can always load this by going to ds9's preferences : Edit -> Preferences. Select the "Analysis" tab; Under the 'Preload Analysis File' section are 4 slots to pre-load scripts. Goto the 1st one that is available, and use the Browse button to select the 'ciao.ds9' file in your CIAO installation.

Selecting CIAO will display the category of CIAO tasks :

  • Statistics: counts, centroid, min, max, etc. Also includes a 'snap-to-centroid' function.
  • Histograms: create spectra, lightcurves, radial profiles amoungst others. Data are plotted in a Chips window.
  • Coordinates: use crosshair to map coordinates in image to chip, det, msc (off-axis-angles), etc.
  • Detect: run source detection tools on images
  • Regions: generate regions that enclose fraction of flux, magic-wand style src selector (local contouring),
  • Image Processing: adaptive smooth (incl. csmooth), adaptive bin, smooth (various kernels), non-linear filtering (median), fill (dmfilth), and many more.

Known Limitations

Some of these are limitations within ds9, some are within the wrappers themselves.

  • Energy filter, diff blocks, etc. ds9 uses the funtools syntax to specify filters and block names; these are not translated to ciao; and if used may cause failures.
  • Having more then ~8 different shapes causes ds9 to change its behavior; it starts passing around a filename with a list of regions instead of the region string itself. Its not simple to know which is which.
  • The stacked-shapes (panda, annulus, elliptical annuls, box annulus, etc) only work with the radial profile task.
  • chips plot, 1st one may take too long. Since we have to create some temp files to send the data to chips we startup stuff in the background send the data and then sleep 10 before cleaning up the temp files. This may not be long enough eg on Solaris or when displaying remotely when chips is 1st launched.


See the CIAO website for an up-to-date listing of known bugs.

Last modified: December 2009