What are the most popular computer programming languages in observational astronomy?

  • I would like to work in the field of observational astronomy (not so much theoretical astronomy).



    I currently know two computer programming languages: C# and MATLAB.



    I have read that computer programming is absolutely essential to every astronomer, and that it takes a very significant part of the time of the work of most astronomers.



    Therefore I would like to learn a few more programming languages. Hence my question:



    What are the most common programming languages in observational astronomy?


    Also, many people are still using IRAF.

  • mmh

    mmh Correct answer

    7 years ago

    Python is gaining popularity and replacing MATLAB in many fields of science as the tool for fast prototyping and writing research code.


    For example, have a look at:



    (I'm not working in astronomy as a researcher but in some other field.)


    Definitely Python: it's open source and free, available almost in every platform by default, has countless available packages, the community is strong and active (and growing), very gradual learning curve (ie: easy to learn), its usage is expanding _very_ quickly in the field, etc.

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