Investigating interoperability of the LSST data management software stack with Astropy

Tim Jenness, James Bosch, Russell Owen, John Parejko, Jonathan Sick, John Swinbank, Miguel De Val-Borro, Gregory Dubois-Felsmann, K. T. Lim, Robert H. Lupton, Pim Schellart, K. S. Krughoff, Erik J. Tollerud

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations


The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will be an 8.4m optical survey telescope sited in Chile and capable of imaging the entire sky twice a week. The data rate of approximately 15TB per night and the requirements to both issue alerts on transient sources within 60 seconds of observing and create annual data releases means that automated data management systems and data processing pipelines are a key deliverable of the LSST construction project. The LSST data management software has been in development since 2004 and is based on a C++ core with a Python control layer. The software consists of nearly a quarter of a million lines of code covering the system from fundamental WCS and table libraries to pipeline environments and distributed process execution. The Astropy project began in 2011 as an attempt to bring together disparate open source Python projects and build a core standard infrastructure that can be used and built upon by the astronomy community. This project has been phenomenally successful in the years since it has begun and has grown to be the de facto standard for Python software in astronomy. Astropy brings with it considerable expectations from the community on how astronomy Python software should be developed and it is clear that by the time LSST is fully operational in the 2020s many of the prospective users of the LSST software stack will expect it to be fully interoperable with Astropy. In this paper we describe the overlap between the LSST science pipeline software and Astropy software and investigate areas where the LSST software provides new functionality. We also discuss the possibilities of re-engineering the LSST science pipeline software to build upon Astropy, including the option of contributing affliated packages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSoftware and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy IV
EditorsGianluca Chiozzi, Juan C. Guzman
ISBN (Electronic)9781510602052
StatePublished - 2016
EventSoftware and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy IV - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: Jun 26 2016Jun 30 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherSoftware and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy IV
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Astronomy software
  • Astropy
  • Code reuse
  • LSST
  • Python


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