Welcome to ATSAL

ATSAL is an open source application for performing astrophysical spectral analysis, initially implemented for Macintosh and later Linux and Windows operating systems. It is layered on top of existing, proven tools, especially XSpec. The first version of ATSAL is biased toward X- and λ-ray spectrography, but it is designed to be able to interact with multiple analysis engines at once, and to support analysis in any part of the electromagnetic spectrum. ATSAL also supports Line-based Analysis (LBA), in conjunction with atomic databases such as AtomDB. ATSAL’s user interface is implemented using the Qt cross-platform class library, for portability.

ATSAL enhances user productivity by improving ease of use, but also by supporting parallelism. Each notebook is a separate process, and each notebook’s plot tool can create multiple models, all of which operate in parallel, better utilizing the multiple processor cores present on today’s computers. You can run several analyses at once, even as you configure additional ones.

ATSAL notebooks specify the steps in one or more analyses. Notebooks capture the details so users can share work with others, archive work products for reproducibility in the future, or even recover from a crash. Notebooks also capture and save generated plots and tables, so you can pick up an earlier session where you left off, or fine-tune plots for publication.

Screen images TBD.

Download a demo here. To get started with ATSAL, take a look at this tutorial. Or peruse the ATSAL documentation. If you are a software developer interested in ATSAL’s design or possible participation in the project, see the developer section.

ATSAL itself is written in C++, but it employs Python as an optional extension language. You don’t need Python to do analysis with XSpec. You can use a little bit of Python, say, to summarize results. Or you can use it to extend ATSAL, both its analytical core and its user interface. ATSAL also supports Matplotlib.

ATSAL is “hermetically sealed:” its component software is fully embedded within ATSAL itself, in order to avoid version skew, and to ensure that ATSAL does not interfere with other tools in use on your computer. For example, ATSAL uses its own versions of Python and XSpec.