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Enabling Science with the Southern African Large Telescope with Python

Summary

The Southern African Large Telescope is the premier optical astronomical facility in South Africa. Since the start of science operations in September 2011, it has produced a wide range of scientific results from studies of near-Earth asteroids to galaxies at the edge of the Universe. Once observations are obtained at the telescope, they are passed through our science pipeline, which is built on Python. The pipeline rapidly distributes the data, provides science quality reductions, and monitors the performance of the telescope. In addition, developments made for SALT have also contributed to astropy, a python library for astronomy. In this talk, we highlight how these developments are helping to contribute to our understanding of the Universe. We describe how we are using python to provide rapid reductions of the observations, for teaching new students, and for solving new problems.

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