SAOimage display of M-51

SAOimage 1.35.1
X11 Image Display Utility

SAO/TDC Home Page
SAOimage (pronounced S-A-0-image) is a utility for displaying astronomical images in the X11 window environment. It was written at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory by Mike Van Hilst in 1990 and hass been maintained by Doug Mink. Image files can be read directly, or image data may be passed through a named pipe (Unix) or a mailbox (VMS) from IRAF display tasks. SAOimage provides a large selection of options for zooming, panning, scaling, coloring, pixel readback, display blinking, and region specification. User interactions are generally performed with the mouse. Mouse tracking in an image's world coordinate system, usually sky coordinates, was added in 1994. You can also plot catalogs over images with WCS information in their headers.

The SAOimage desktop includes, a main image display window, a button menu panel, a display magnifier, a pan and zoom reference image, and a color bar. A color table graph window can be brought up by clicking on the color bar.

Command Line Options One-page List, Descriptive List
Usage Cursor, Keyboard, Mouse
SAOimage and IRAF Direct Image Display or as an IMTOOL
SAOimage and the World Wide Web SAOimage as a browser helper
Where the images are
Special Topics Image Blinking, Image Scaling, Pan and Zoom, Hard Copies,
Regions, World Coordinate Systems, Multiple WCS's, Y2K Compliance
Image Color, Color Maps, Color Map Manipulation, 16- and 24-bit Displays
Publications M.VanHilst(1990), B.A.A.S. 22, p.935,
D.Mink(1995), ADASS V [full text]
Release History Latest stable Release 1.35.1, 1 December 2003
No current beta release
Anonymous FTP
(Note: as of August 2003, a legitimate domain name is needed as the password, and neither Mozilla nor Netscape supply one, so either use another ftp access method or the following http address: )
Source via HTTP
Installation or read the INSTALL file in the release
SAOimage Alternatives DS9 SAO's Latest Astronomical Data Visualization Application (reference manual)

SAOtng SAO's Next Generation Image Display Program
(online help)

skycat ESO's Next Generation Image Display Program
(FAQ) (FTP) (with GAIA)

jsky ESO's Library of Reusable Java Components for Astronomy
(FTP) (]

fv HEASARC's Interactive FITS File Viewer (Features) (Tutorial) (Help Files)

ATV An interactive image-display tool for IDL

Last updated 18 February 2005 by Doug Mink Telescope Data Center Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics [WCSTools]