You are here

Download the latest version of the Gemini data reduction packages

Content owned by klabrie

IMPORTANT for Mac OS X Users

A new virtual machine implementation for running IRAF on MacOS 10.14+ is now available. You can find updated instructions at:

This should provide a reliable and relatively convenient way of running Gemini IRAF on recent Apple computers with an M1/M2 processor (though M2 has not been tested yet). However, this comes with an order-of-magnitude speed penalty, because of the need to emulate an Intel CPU on ARM64, which is unavoidable without having 64-bit ports of Gemini IRAF and its dependencies (such as STSDAS). On Apple machines with an Intel CPU, the virtualization overhead is much smaller.

The VM is needed only for Gemini IRAF work.  We recommend that you do your DRAGONS work natively rather using the VM.

IMPORTANT for Linux Users

The minimum requirements for Anaconda is now CentOS 7 or equivalent.  DRAGONS will seem to install fine, but critical dependencies will not run properly or at all with CentOS 6 systems or below.  32-bit compatibility libraries are required to run Gemini IRAF (as installed via Astroconda).  If they are not already installed with your OS, you can find instructions here: 


Gemini IRAF
  • Stable Version: v1.15
  • Revision note: gemini_v115_rev.txt
  • Version 1.15 includes new support for Flamingos 2 MOS data.
  • IMPORTANT for Flamingos 2 users still using Gemini v1.14. [No MOS support.]  
    • If you are reducing recent (2022A and beyond) Flamingos 2 data, please also install this small patch to Gemini IRAF v1.14 that comes with the conda installation.

Instructions for updating DRAGONS

DRAGONS v3.0 requires Python 3.7.  If your conda environment uses a different version of Python, you will need to create a new conda environment.  Set the instruction below for a new installation with conda create.  

We recommend that you create a new environment, but if you already have a Python 3.7 environement set up and want to add DRAGONS, you can use conda install. In the example below, replace environment_name with geminiconda, or dragons, or whatever name you used when you first created the environment.

    $ conda activate environment_name
    $ conda install package_name=version

For example (if you are already using Python 3.7):

    $ conda activate dragons
    $ conda install dragons=3.0.4

IMPORTANT:  For DRAGONS v3.0, make sure that you do NOT have "conda-forge" in your list of channels.

Instructions for updating Gemini IRAF

If you already have Gemini IRAF installed and wish to update the package to version 1.15, run the following commands:

    $ conda activate geminiconda
    $ conda install iraf.gemini=1.15 --no-update-deps --no-channel-priority

Instructions for new installation of DRAGONS and Gemini IRAF

WARNING: the use of the bash shell is required by Anaconda.

Install Anaconda

If you already have Anaconda installed, you can skip this step and go to the Install DRAGONS and Gemini IRAF section below. If not, then your first step is to get and install Anaconda. You can download it at:

IMPORTANT FOR Mac M1/M2:  Download the Intel anaconda.  This will seemlessly get the Intel binaries of DRAGONS (we don't have M1/M2-compatible binaries yet).  Rosetta will run Intel binaries.

Choose the version of Python that suits your other Python needs. DRAGONS v3.0 is compatible and has been tested with Python 3.7.  Starting with version 3.0, DRAGONS is no longer compatible with Python 2.  

If you have downloaded the graphical anaconda installer, follow the graphical installer instructions. Install in your home directory. It should be the default.

If you have downloaded the command-line installer, type the following in a terminal, replacing the .sh file name to the name of the file you have downloaded. The /bin/bash -l line is not needed if you are already using bash. The command-line installer allows for more customization of the installation. ($ indicates the terminal prompt.)

    $ /bin/bash -l
    $ chmod a+x
    $ ./

To prevent the Anaconda "base" environment from loading automatically, giving you back the control as to when to activate the conda environements, do:

    $ conda config --set auto_activate_base false

Verify Anaconda installation

Make sure that ~/anaconda3/bin/activate is in your PATH by doing:

    $ which activate

The Anaconda installer should have added conda configurations to the ~/.bash_profile for you. If activate is not found, try:

    $ source ~/.bash_profile

If activate is still not found, you might have to add export PATH=~/anaconda3/bin:$PATH to your ~/.bash_profile using your favorite text editor, and run the source command above again.


  • Sometimes the Anaconda installer will install the software in ~/anaconda2 or ~/anaconda3 instead of simply ~/anaconda. Just check in your home directory which one of the three possibilities was used.

  • The code Anaconda adds to the .bash_profile will automatically activate anaconda. To activate or deactivate Anaconda manually:
            $ conda activate
            $ conda deactivate

Set up Anaconda Channels

Remember that Anaconda requires the use of the bash shell. tcsh or csh will not work. If you are using (t)csh, your first step is:

    $ /bin/bash -l

Now that Anaconda is installed, we add the needed astronomy software. We add the Astroconda channel and the Gemini channel. Those channels host the conda astronomy packages. The channels need to be defined only once.

    $ conda config --add channels
    $ conda config --add channels

IMPORTANT:  For DRAGONS v3.0, make sure that you do NOT have "conda-forge" in your list of channels.

Install DRAGONS and Gemini IRAF

Important: If you are working on Mac OS, you will need to use the VM for your Gemini IRAF work.  See  DRAGONS runs natively, see next section "Install only DRAGONS".

The next step is to create a virtual environment and install the full data reduction suite: DRAGONS and Gemini IRAF.  Conda will take care of installing the dependencies.  The name of the environment can be anything you like. Here we use “geminiconda” as the name.  DRAGONS v3.0 requires Python 3.7.

    $ conda create -n geminiconda python=3.7 dragons gemini stsci iraf-all pyraf-all

To use this environment, activate it:

    $ conda activate geminiconda

You will need to activate the environment whenever you start a new shell. If you are planning to use it all the time, you might want to add the command to your .bash_profile, after the “conda init” block.

IMPORTANT for Flamingos 2 users still using v1.14.   If you are reducing recent (2022A and beyond) Flamingos 2 data, please also install this small patch to Gemini IRAF v1.14 that you have just installed with conda.  If you can, it is recommended that you update to Gemini IRAF v1.15 instead of installing the patch.

Install only DRAGONS

DRAGONS requires Python 3.7. To install:

   $ conda create -n dragons python=3.7 dragons stsci

On Mac OS machine with M1/M2 chips, make sure that you have installed the Intel anaconda to ensure that you pick up Intel binaries.  DRAGONS is currently available only for Intel which Rosetta will run without issue.

Configuration and Testing

Configure IRAF

If you have installed IRAF and PyRAF and need to use Gemini IRAF, make sure that there is a configured iraf directory in your home directory. If you have used IRAF before it might already be there, it might still be wise to re-run the mkiraf step. To set up a new IRAF directory:

    $ cd ~
    $ mkdir iraf
    $ cd iraf
    $ mkiraf

At the mkiraf step, choose xterm or xgterm for the terminal, and re-initialize the uparm when/if asked.

Your computer might require 32-bit compatibility libraries. See this Astroconda FAQ for details and how to install those libraries on Linux:

Configure DRAGONS

DRAGONS requires a configuration file located in ~/.geminidr/:

    $ cd ~
    $ mkdir .geminidr
    $ cd .geminidr
    $ touch rsys.cfg

Open rsys.cfg with you favorite editor and add these lines:

    standalone = True
    database_dir = ~/.geminidr/

Configure buffers for ds9:

    $ cd ~
    $ cp $CONDA_PREFIX/lib/python3.7/site-packages/gempy/numdisplay/imtoolrc ~/.imtoolrc
    $ vi .bash_profile (or use you favorite editor)
    Add this line to the .bash_profile: 
       export IMTOOLRC=~/.imtoolrc

Test the installation

Test Gemini IRAF
        $ conda activate geminiconda
        $ pyraf
        --> gemini

You should be seeing the Gemini IRAF packages for each instruments.

        $ conda activate dragons
        $ python
        >>> import astrodata
        >>> import gemini_instruments

If the imports are successful, i.e. no errors show up, exit Python (Ctrl-D).

Now test that reduce runs. There may be some delay initially as packages and modules are compiled and loaded.

        $ reduce --help

This will print the reduce help to the screen.

If you have Gemini FITS files available, you can test that the Recipe System is functioning as expected as follow (replace the file name with the name of your file):

        $ reduce N20180106S0700.fits -r prepare

If all is well, you will see something like:

                            --- reduce, v3.0.3 ---
        All submitted files appear valid
        Found 'prepare' as a primitive.
        RECIPE: prepare
        PRIMITIVE: prepare
          PRIMITIVE: validateData
          PRIMITIVE: standardizeStructure
          PRIMITIVE: standardizeHeaders
             PRIMITIVE: standardizeObservatoryHeaders
             Updating keywords that are common to all Gemini data
             PRIMITIVE: standardizeInstrumentHeaders
             Updating keywords that are specific to NIRI
        Wrote N20180106S0700_prepared.fits in output directory

        reduce completed successfully.