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A Practical Guide to Observational Astronomy

Companion website for A Practical Guide to Obsrvational Astronomy by M. Shane Burns

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This website and the associated GitHub repository holds example code, tutorials, and data to accompany A Practical Guide to Observational Astronomy by M. Shane Burns. All of the example code is written using the Python programming language. You will need to know a little about programing in Python to understand the tutorials. Check out the Resources page for links to online Python tutorials.

The resources page also includes information about alternative astronomical image processing systems, and image display software.

How to use this website

Clone the GitHub repository

If you have Python installed on your computer, the easiest way to access all of the information on this site is to click the View on GitHub link in the blue tab above and clone the repository to your own computer. I strongly suggest the Anaconda Python 3 distribution. All of the code was written and tested using the Anaconda distribution. You can install the open-source Anaconda Individual Edition for free.

Download only the files you need

If you already have Python installed and you don’t want the entire GitHub repository you can use the links below to download ZIP files containing the example code, images, and sample data.

Run the tutorials without installing Python

If you don’t have Python installed on your computer, you can still access the tutorials and run the sample code from your browser by using Binder. Just click the button below to get started.


Be patient it may take a few minutes for the Jupyter Notebook to launch in your browser. Once it has launched, you see a listing of all the files in the repository. The Jupyter Notebook tutorials end with the extension .ipynb. Just click on the file name to start the tutorial.