XVISTA Home Page

Welcome to the XVISTA home page

XVISTA is a software package for astronomical image processing. It was originally developed in the 1980s by graduate students and staff at the University of California, Santa Cruz, but has gone through extensive modifications and additions since then.

XVISTA has an extensive set of routines for a variety of astronomical tasks. The code is written largely in FORTRAN 77, and users can view and modify source code relatively easily, especially after a little practice.

XVISTA is currently maintained by Jon Holtzman at New Mexico State University .

XVISTA runs under the UNIX operating system and has been tested on four different operating systems : Linux, MacOSX (with some prerequisites) , Solaris, and Digital UNIX (no longer supported).

Note that the version of XVISTA discussed here is completely separate from another version of an astronomical image processing package called XVista (http://spiff.rit.edu/tass/xvista/), by Michael Richmond and Richard Treffers; this package was inspired by the same original program developed at Lick, but is a completely independent coding that performs some of the same tasks.

The normal XVISTA distribution is a single compressed tar file contained the source code. The current version is:


The source code is easy to install and comes with installation instructions .

For more information, refer to the XVISTA manual or to the top level XVISTA help page ( Postscript version) email holtz at nmsu.edu

Version history

All new versions generally contain minor updates to various routines to enhance their functionality. Unfortunately, documentation of these is not handled ideally.

Version 5.0 was a substantial revision from previous versions, but has been distributed for some time now (although the distributor made the foolish choice to continue modifications throughout the period when 5.0 was being distributed, so not all versions of 5.0 are the same!). I have declared version 5.0 as of November 27, 1999 to the be the official version 5.0. NOTE to anyone obtaining xvista50 between JANUARY 27, 2000 and MARCH 9, 2000: your version may contain some significant bugs especially in the stellar photometry routines - you should obtain a new version if you have any problems.

Version 5.1 was released in March 2000; changes include a totally new handling of MASKs to allow for these to be dynamically allocated, capability to read FITS extension images, capability to use the readline library for command recall, some new graphical display for spectral line identification and wavelength calibration, etc. Version 5.1 was NOT stable; the distributor reserves the right to continue modifications on this version (which are usually benign, and possibly even useful!).

To attempt to keep better track of code revision, the XVISTA source code was put under revision control (CVS) in March 2001. The first version released under this system is version 6-01. Version 6-02 was released October 2001; this has modifications to the Makefiles to allow it to be compiled under RedHat Linux 7.1.

Some significant modifications were made to the display routines to allow them to work on TrueColor displays (most 16 and 24-bit displays) as well as to continue to function on the PseudoColor displays late in 2003. Version 7-01 was developed November 2003 and incorporates these modifications. Version 7-02 was released March 2004 which fixed a minor bug that prevented compilation on Redhat Enterprise. Version 7-05 was released March 2005, and includes a port to Mac OSX (with several prerequisites ). Version 7-06, released June 2005, includes some fixes to allow compilation/execution on 64-bit machines (perhaps not comprehensively tested). Version 7-07 was released June 2007, and includes mostly some modifications to allow compilation under more recent OS versions. Version 7-08 was released September 2008, and continues with minor fixes and modifications. Version 7-09 has some minor issues mostly associated with Mac OSX compilation for Mac OS X 10.5. Version 7-10 eliminated the use of the binary font files which caused issues on several platforms. Version 7-12 includes WCS support for the display window and fixes a few bugs that were causing TV crashes on some platforms and has improved support for more recent versions of Mac OS X. Minor version revisions include fixing small issues that various compilers don't like, such as adding required return values for C routines, proper continuation characters, etc. It is released here:

Older versions:


The source code is easy to install and comes with installation instructions .

Binary distributions are not yet available.

The XVISTA distribution contains all of the XVISTA source code as well as several ancillary packages. As such, different portions of the package have different copyright protection; see the README file for more information. The main portion of XVISTA is copyrighted and distributed as freeware under the terms of the GNU software licence . There is absolutely no warranty for its performance.

For more information, refer to the XVISTA manual or to the top level XVISTA help page

Email: holtz at nmsu.edu