Driving a 30m Radio Telescope with Python
2019-09-05, 11:30–12:00, Track 3 (Oteiza)

The IRAM 30m radio telescope is one of the best in the world. The telescope control software, monitoring, data archiving as well as some of the data processing code is written in Python. We will describe how and why Python is used at the telescope.


The IRAM 30m radio telescope is one of the best in the world. It has been in operation non-stop since the mid 80s and is used to observe 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. All of the high-level telescope control software, monitoring, data archiving as well as some of the data processing software is written in Python. This choice, controversial at first, proved to be extremely successful making the IRAM 30m telescope extremely efficient.

This talk will describe how Python is used at the telescope, the reasons behind these choices, lessons learned and future developments.


Domains – Astronomy, Scientific data flow and persistence Domain Expertise – none Python Skill Level – professional Project Homepage / Git – https://www.iram-institute.org Abstract as a tweet – Drive your 30m telescope using Python for fun and profit