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Ureka has been deprecated as of 04/26/2016. Please consider switching to STScI's Conda-based solution, AstroConda. Current and previous versions of Ureka will remain available for download and installation, but will no longer receive updates.

Ureka is a collection of useful astronomy software that is generally centered around Python and IRAF. The software provides everything you need to run the data reduction packages provided by STScI and Gemini.

System privileges are not normally required to install Ureka, and there are minimal operating system requirements. Ureka is a binary distibution for Macs and Linux.

IRAF Compatibility Issues

IRAF 'cl' no longer works properly under the following operating systems:

How will I know if I'm affected by this?
$ ur_setup common primary
$ mkiraf
$ cl
task `cl' has no param file
Fatal startup error. CL dies.

Why is this happening?
Bugs in IRAF's core are triggering subtle failures on modern operating systems. Improvements to glibc, the C library on Linux ( and OSX (libSystem.dylib) have recently introduced an incompatibility with IRAF's built-in file/string handling functions. The version of glibc responsible for this issue is not likely to be determined. It is common practice for operating system developers to backport features into older (stable) versions of the library 'upstream', so verions numbers are not easily traceable.


1. Changing directories (does not work on CentOS)
$ mkdir /tmp/test
$ cd /tmp/test
$ cl

2. Install Ureka in a virtual machine
... Instructions Pending ...

Conda and Ureka

Efforts are currently underway to repackage the STScI and Gemini developed software within Ureka using Conda for our next major public release. Use of Conda will allow the user to stay more up-to-date with third-party Python packages such as numpy and matplotlib (among hundreds of others) while STScI and Gemini will focus on testing and distributing software not already supported under Anaconda. This update will support installations alongside Ureka installations, or even alongside other anaconda installations, while providing updated versions of the same packages available under Ureka.

Previously released versions of Ureka will continue to be available for download.

Get Ureka

The easiest way to install Ureka is to run the installer. The Ureka installer identifies your platform, downloads the appropriate binary, and sets up the software on your system. Follow this link for more information:

If you're looking for one of the STScI development builds (SSBX and SSBDEV), see this page.


If you need to do something non-standard, you might want to download one of the Ureka binaries and manually install the software, instead of using an installer.

Ureka source files are also available. There are currently no provisions for building Ureka from source, however, so these are only useful for information purposes.


The authors of the Ureka package are listed here.

Deliveries to the Data Management System (OPUS)

The Data Management System (DMS) processes HST data, both as it comes off the telescope on a daily basis and as people request data from the archives. Ureka gets delivered for use in the DMS as software developments support new calibrations and improvements in the calibrations applied to HST data. The history of what versions of Ureka were delivered for use in DMS allows users to determine whether they need to get a new version of Ureka for reprocessing their data or not.


If you have any questions or problems, please send mail to Be sure to include "Ureka" in the subject line.