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A Python interface to the CHIANTI atomic database for astrophysical spectroscopy





ChiantiPy is the Python interface to the CHIANTI atomic database for astrophysical spectroscopy


The CHIANTI provides a database of atomic data that can be used to interpret the emission of spectral lines and continus emitted from high-temperature, optically-thin astrophysical sources. The CHIANTI project provides a suite of routines written in Interactive Data Language (IDL) to access the database and calculate various quantities for use in interpreting observed spectra or producing synthetic spectra.

Getting started with ChiantiPy


 * Python ( latext 2.X version; not compatible with version 3.X )
 * Numpy
 * Scipy
 * Matplotlib
 * [Optional] PyQt4 or wxPython
 * CHIANTI, the atomic database for astrophysical spectroscopy

In addition, the FortranFormat module from Scientific Python, developed by Konrad Hinsen of the Centre de Biophysique Moleculaire (, is included in this distribution for simplicity.

Installing the CHIANTI database

The gzipped data tar ball can be downloaded from the CHIANTI website

 * put the file in a convenient directory, cd to the directory and untar the file
 * ChiantiPy uses the environment variable XUVTOP to find the database. Set XUVTOP to the name of the directory where the CHIANTI data tarball was placed. For example

> setenv XUVTOP /data1/xuv/directory.where.the.tarball.was.placed

Some sites have the CHIANTI database maintained as part of a SolarSoft distribution. In that case, simply set XUVTOP to the directory were it exists, usually something like $SSW/packages/chianti/dbase

Installing the ChiantiPy package

The ChiantiPy package can be downloaded from the ChiantiPy, untar it, cd to the directory where it was unpacked, and then, as root

> python install

If you do not have root privileges, simply put the ChiantiPy directory (simply called 'chianti') in your PYTHONPATH

Running ChiantiPy

The documentation can be found on its web page ChiantiPy

In particular, a quick start guide is included which should get you up and running fairly quickly.

eeping track of ChiantiPy

There is a mailing list that you can subscribe to at In order to subscribe it is first necessary to obtain a user account from This is a straightforward process.
Last updated on August 14th, 2013

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