How I Found My Place in the Universe
(and helped everybody else find theirs)

By Jessica Mink (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory)

A talk at the American Museum of Natural History, April 13, 2015

Over the past 45 years, I've developed an interest in maps into a variety of software which implements a variety of mapping functions to translate between images, catalogs, and precise coordinates in space. After several less portable programs, I wrote WCSTools, a user-friendly suite of software to do all of those things, with a variety of other tools added to manipulate files. To cover the third dimension, I added the RVSAO package to IRAF to use various methods to compute radial velocities and redshifts from spectra of astronomical objects, be they asteroids, stars, or galaxies. I'll discuss the evolution of these tools and the astronomical data environment.