The ROOT analysis framework is one of the most used software for the analysis and indeed it is the “de facto” standard for high-energy physics. The goal of the ROAst library (ROot extensions for ASTronomy) is to extend the ROOT capabilities adding packages and tools for astrophysical research.
ROAst comes with three feature sets:
ROAst provides seamless access to the following catalogues: UCAC4, URAT1 (local), the VizieR online catalogue repository, VO (Virtual Observatory) catalogues (such as Euro-VO, MAST, GAVO, VAO, IVOA). An intermediate abstraction layer makes the addition of more catalogues easy to implement. Catalogue querying can be done extracting regions of various shapes (rectangles, circles, ellipses) around each object. ROAst supports equatorial, galactic, ecliptic, horizontal astronomical coordinates (using Lat-Long and UTM as geographical coordinates) and allows coordinate transformations. Plots can be obtained in “flat” and “Aitoff” projection, in equatorial, galactic and horizontal coordinate systems (some combinations of projection and coordinate systems are not allowed).
Fig. 9.2 Example of elliptical region extracted from the UCAC4 catalogue and shown in a ROOT graphical window.
The ROAst package extends the functions of the ROOT framework, which is the “de facto” standard for analysis in high-energy particle physics, to features that are needed in astroparticle physics and astronomy.
In particular, access to offline and online catalogues of astronomical objects is made simple through a single API that represents data from different sources in a uniform way, which boosts research effectiveness, data exchange and open access. It is possible to extract regions of different shapes from the catalogues. The ROOT graphical capabilities are complemented with new graphs that include Aitoff projection and SkyMap, well integrated with the catalogue access features. Coordinate conversion tools support usage of data in diverse scenarios.
Major improvements in the reporting period include final implementation of precise Sun and Moon motion and ability to produce graphs with Right Ascension in different conventions.
The software underwent code review and quality improvement and was incorporated in the Aanet analysis framework used by the KM3NeT Collaboration.
In the future it is planned to propose ROAst as a standard package for ROOT or derivative analysis frameworks.
We identified a set of missing features in ROOT, for which we have written original code.
Accessing astronomical catalogues and transforming coordinates from software born in the context of high-energy physics is not trivial. ROAst provides a convenient and easy way to reuse in the high-energy physics community tools from the astrophysics community.
Development was smooth and went as planned.