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astrosberge's picture


Is it possible to have a tutorial to convert the measurement spreadsheet obtained with AstroImageJ to the AAVSO file format ?  

It should be interesting in having a plugins or a tool in AstroImageJ in order to format the data analysis measurement into the AAVSO file format.  

If someone of you has something / tuto / plugins to help, please it would be appreciate to have it.


Serge  (astrosberge at

gabriele's picture
AstroImageJ and AAVSO format

I agree, AstroImageJ seems really nice, too bad I haven't been able to find tutorials, plugins or ways to export in the AAVSO data format, so I'm really interested in this.

clkotnik's picture
AstroImageJ for General Photometry

I'm afraid I do not have the tools you ask about, but I can offer some observations as a result of my using AIJ a bit and thinking about this.

First, you need to recognize that AIJ does not offer much support for filters.  This seemed most problematic to me in the area of calibration where you will need to keep all separate folder structures  for straight yourself and calibrate one filter at a time.  There is no filter ID in the output.  While you can add columns to the output from the FITS headers, these can only be numeric values.  Thus you would need to parse the filter ID, say out of the file name.  Or perhaps create numeric values in the FITS header for your filters.

The other thing to consider is that AIJ deals in flux mostly.  You can put in mags for the comp stars and get a magnitude for the target.  You would need to do something to generate the required instrumental magnitude for the check star since the instrumental magnitudes are not reported by AIJ.  The two things you might consider as sources are the Source-Sky or relative flux.  You would have to dig into the AIJ doc to find out how it generates the target magnitude for single and ensemble photometry.  Or perhaps you calculate the target magnitude yourself.

You may find it hard to keep the various target, check and comp stars straight as I don't believe you can give them your own names.

And then there is color transformation...

All of this is not to detract from AIJ which does a very good job at the exoplanet photometry it is designed for.  I looked down the road of general photometry with AIJ and have decided not to pursue it myself.

Good luck,

Cliff Kotnik


WBY's picture

Yes you do have to calibrate one filter at a time. The easy way to handle filters is to include the appropriate filter in the file name Like MQCas120S_B, MQCas90S_V and mFlat_B, mFlat_V for your master flats (include the filter in the individual flat file names as well). I also include EXPTIME in the file name as well.  That way I can dump all images into one directory and select only the files needed for a specific calibration operation. You don't have to use the directory structure that Dennis uses in his exoplanet course. I do stronly recomment however that you create a subdirectory for the calibrated science frames just to be sure that original files are overwritten. I have a belt and suspenders approach to making sure that I don't change my original files. I dump all my originals including bias frames, darks flats and science images into a directory that includes something in the directory name designating the files as originals.
example: MQCas_20181115_Originals.

Then a create another directory like "MQCas_20191115_Working" with whatever subsidiary directory structure I might want underneath that - "Analysis" to contain the outputs and config files from AIJ and at least  one "images" for the images files. You may prefer multiple directories for image files (perhaps Bias, Darks, Flats and Science if you fillow the structure that Dennis recommends. I prefer to construct my files names so that I can dump all files into one directory and use file name patterns boxes in the Science Image Processing, Bias Subtraction, Dark Subtraction And Flat division sections of the main DP page to pick the files needed for whatever calibration operation I am doing and name the output appropriately (mbias, mdark10s, mdark120s mFlat_B and mflat_V, for example, and by entries in the Save Calibrated Images section ending up with, say, MQCas_V_cal ...  for the calibrated science image names in the Cal subdirectory of the Images directory.  

I also use darks at the same EXPTiME as the files from which they will be subtracted. That means I may have a separate set of darks for science images through each filter and I may also end up with one or more additional set of darks to calibrate flats. I don't have to bias correct any images, however, and that reduces noise in the final calibrated science images. In my setup I can take darks during the day just as easily as at night. 

Brad Walter, WBY

astrosberge's picture
AIJ format

Thanks Cliff and Gabrielle

Sorry for my late answer. 

AIJ is powerfull and can do differential photometry easily.  The only issue is the file format.  It would be interesting in having an AVSO file format plugin in order to use it for AAVSO.  

As per some consultations, there is an appetite to create eventually a plugin but we just need a volunteer who is able to make it... and I am not a programmer. 


clkotnik's picture
Any Interest In Collaboration?

If you have some knowledge of python and would be interested in collaborating on a postprocessing program for the AIJ measurements file please let me know.  I have a prototype that I developed to handle the conversion to AAVSO, color transforms, etc.  It certainly is nothing more than a prototype, but perhaps could be refined.

best regards,


astrosberge's picture

I am interested in but I don't know Python.

It should be interesting for you to have a discussion with Karen Collins, the professor who is behind AIJ. Also,  AIJ is very exoplanet oriented and you should also have a discussion with Dennis Conti who is the AAVSO exoplanet man. 

Let me know more about your prototype but as I have mentioned, Pyhton is completely new for me.


clkotnik's picture
Perhaps We Should Define Goals


When I was first introduced to AIJ, it was from Dennis explicitly for exoplanet work.  That is why Karen developed it as I understand it.  As such, the main outputs are relative flux and generally the output from AIJ or a column subset of it are what the researchers require.  

So when I read your original post, I assumed since you were looking for the AAVSO format the targets included more than exoplanets, were multiple filters, with color transformation  and included a check star.  Certainly, all of this is not required for the AAVSO format.  However, that is what I assumed from your original post and that is what I prototyped. I may have made a mistake this assumption.

Perhaps your goals are more limited.  If so, please take a look the RedDots campaign at and the video tutorial  Also note that the required AAVSO format requested was updated in the 6/28/17 post (#11) here  While not a clean tutorial, you probably can piece together the info to do the conversion from these resources.

I suspect we will hear more about exoplanet observing and data format/storage at the fall AAVSO conference given the focus of that event.

Hope this helps,


David Benn
David Benn's picture
AstroImageJ and Mac OS 10.13

Is anyone using AstroImageJ with Mac OS 10.13?

There are known problems and some workarounds for ImageJ, but not sure about AstroImageJ.


astrosberge's picture
AstroImageJ and Mac OS 10.13

Sorry David, I use AIJ it with Windows. It works well but in Windows we have to make sure that ou Java platform is always up to date.


David Benn
David Benn's picture
AstroImageJ and Mac OS 10.13

Hi Serge

Thanks. This page reports the problem:

It appears to be ImageJ related:

I can run the jar file directly, e.g.



java -jar ij.jar

rather than using the Mac OS .app and that allows me to enter text into dialogs. However, although FITS files can be loaded, nothing is displayed. Image -> Show Info... shows it has loaded however because I can view the FITS header.

I don't quite understand the underlying problem, the dependency upon Java 6 etc.

I wonder when this will be resolved for Mac OS X 10.13?



Ganesh1076's picture
Unable to plot the data in astroimagej

I've tried many times with some tutorials on YouTube but yet not successful to plot a light curve of variable star

Ive reached till y plot but all of them are ploted in parellel to y axis. Every point is for same JD i.e x axis

astrosberge's picture
Unable to plot the data in astroimagej

Check your measurement table to see if values in the JD column vary for each image... if values are all the same, you make something wrong during the data reduction / analysis process.



B.P.Vietje's picture
Plot Data in AIJ

Ganesh1076,  if you can attach your measurement table, you may be able to get some help here.  I may not be the best one to help, but can try.

AIJ can create nice plots of variable stars, asteroids, etc, and there is a way to input comp star magnitudes, but I don't recall AIJ having an option for Check stars.  There are so many little check boxes that can be used to customize AIJ for different applications, that it can be frustrating to find the source of the issue.  There is a Data Processing module that may not be reading your JD properly, so it may be creating a measurement table that has only one date(?)

Clear skies,

Brad Vietje, VBPA

Newbury, VT

possible conversion to AAVSO format

Hello Serge,

I use Matlab for a lot of my variable star data reduction and have developed a script in Matlab to take text file output from MaximDL into a much more readable AAVSO format.  With some coding by another user you could mofify it to read from most any format and output AAVSO format.   It's not a stand-alone script but a section of a larger script with the formats to write to AAVSO.  Let me know if you would like it. 

Matlab is pricey, however, but I love it for the graphics capabilities.

Don (CDK) (

astrosberge's picture
possible conversion to AAVSO format

Hi Don,

The simple way I convert the measurement table of AIJ to the AAVSO file format is with MS Excel.

I open the measurement table of AIJ with MS Excel and savec it in an Excel workbook.  After I open a second page and take the culomns I need to "build" my AAVSO file format.  Hence, at the end, I save my AAVSO file format in a csv delimited with a come (,).  It works fine... I would like to make a script with Excel in order to do it automatically but I haven't had time to learn Excel script yet...

So I do it for ETD (exoplanet) and AAVSO for variable star.  It is not necessary to plot a graph with AIJ, just taken the measurement table and make an ETD or AAVSO file format with MS Excel... and submit it.  In both cases, it works fine.

MJHN's picture
Script Interface for AstroImageJ


I have not used AIJ but I am thinking about an interface to it for users of my automation system.

My current automation for variable stars and time series processing is through Astroart7.0 but there is no reason I could not interface to any other scriptable package.  A couple of members of the group work with AIJ and I said I would look at adding this to my automation process pipeline.

So the question is:

Does AIJ have a script interface that can be controlled from another software process?

All the best




hambsch's picture
Ever considered using LesvePhtotometry


ever considered using LesvePhtotometry?

It is powerful as it uses a database for variables and comp stars. Can do color transformation if you observe a standard field liek M67. I am using it every day. It can generate AAVSO files and you get Excel files whih show you in a figure the light curve.

It is free the only drawback is that you need to have the full version of Pinpoint which is commercial.


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