2. Installation

The Recipe System is the automation part of DRAGONS. DRAGONS is available as a conda package. The installation instructions below will install all the necessary dependencies.

The use of the bash shell is recommended.

2.1. Install Miniforge

We recommend using Miniforge instead of Anaconda. It is smaller and installs contents from conda-forge which is now our main channel for python packages. The overall size of the installation will therefore be much smaller than a full Anaconda installation. The instructions below are for Miniforge.

Anaconda will work just fine too if you prefer or have a business need for it. We just don’t provide instructions for its installation. Whether you use Miniforge or Anaconda will not impact the DRAGONS installation as long as your using the correct conda channels.

2.1.1. Download and install Miniforge

If you already have Miniforge installed (or Anaconda and don’t want to move to Miniforge), you can skip this step and go to the Install DRAGONS section below.

If not, then your first step is to get and install Miniforge. You can download it from the Miniforge github page. The direct links to the Linux and Mac installer are provided in the table below.

Miniforge Page: https://github.com/conda-forge/miniforge

Linux x64_86 Installer: Miniforge3-Linux-x86_64.sh

MacOSX x64_86 Installer: Miniforge3-MacOSX-x86_64.sh


arm64 MacOS Users!!! (That’s M1/M2/M etc) DRAGONS is not yet built with the arm64 architecture. Some dependencies are also either not available for arm64 or not reliable. The x86 build will work. All you need to do is install the x64_86 version of Miniforge (or Anaconda). That way, the x64_86 binaries will automatically be seeked, and found.

arm64 machines can run x86 binaries via the Rosetta interface. It is seamless.

The current version of DRAGONS has been tested with Python 3.10. At the time of this writing, Miniforge installs Python 3.10 by default. (Other version of Python can subsequently be installed.)

To install, run the installer that you have downloaded. Type the following in a terminal, replacing the .sh file name with the name of the file you have downloaded.

$ /bin/bash Miniforge3-MacOSX-x86_64.sh

($ indicates the terminal prompt.)


For the arm64 Macs, it will tell you that the architecture does not match. That’s okay, type yes to accept.

At "Do you wish to update your shell profile to automatically initialize conda?", answer no. The script sometimes put the “conda init” information in the wrong shell file (observed on Mac). To avoid confusion do the initialization manually:

$ ~/miniforge3/bin/conda init


To prevent the “base” environment from loading automatically, do:

$ conda config --set auto_activate_base false

2.1.2. Verify Miniforge installation

Make sure that ~/miniforge3/bin/conda is in your PATH by doing:

$ which conda

It should show a path with miniforge3, not anaconda.


If you had a previous installation of Anaconda, you might need to find the Anaconda’s “conda initialize” block and comment it out. Look in files like .bash_profile, .bashrc, .zshrc.

The conda init command should have added conda configurations to the ~/.bash_profile for you (or .bashrc, .zshrc). If conda is not found, try:

$ source ~/.bash_profile

The code Miniforge adds to the .bash_profile will automatically activate Miniforge. To activate or deactivate Miniforge manually:

$ conda activate
$ conda deactivate

2.2. Install DRAGONS

With Miniforge installed and ready to go, now we can install DRAGONS and the necessary dependencies.

Add conda-forge and the Gemini channel. Those channels host the conda packages that we will need.

$ conda config --add channels conda-forge
$ conda config --add channels http://astroconda.gemini.edu/public

The content of the ~/.condarc file should look like this (the order matters):

  - http://astroconda.gemini.edu/public
  - conda-forge

The next step is to create a virtual environment and install the DRAGONS software and its dependencies in it. The name of the environment can be anything you like. Here we use “dragons” as the name and we request Python 3.10.

$ conda create -n dragons python=3.10 dragons ds9

To use this environment, activate it:

$ conda activate dragons

You will need to activate the environment whenever you start a new shell. If you are planning to use it all the time, you might want to add the command to your .bash_profile, after the “conda init” block.

2.3. Configure DRAGONS

DRAGONS requires a configuration file dragonsrc that is located in ~/.dragons/:

$ cd ~
$ mkdir .dragons
$ cd .dragons
$ touch dragonsrc

Open dragonsrc with your favorite editor and add these lines:

browser = safari

databases = ~/.dragons/dragons.db get

The browser can be set to any of “safari”, “chrome”, or “firefox”, depending on your preferences. The path and name of the calibration database can be anything, as long at the path exists. The “get” means that DRAGONS will get calibrations from that database. The “store” option can be added after the “get” to have DRAGONS automatically add new processed calibrations to the database. See any of the tutorials to learn how to use the calibration manager.

On a new installation, you will need to configure ds9 buffer configurations:

$ cd ~
$ cp $CONDA_PREFIX/lib/python3.10/site-packages/gempy/numdisplay/imtoolrc ~/.imtoolrc
$ vi .bash_profile   # or use your favorite editor

  Add this line to the .bash_profile:
    export IMTOOLRC=~/.imtoolrc

It is recommended to increase the Operating System limit on the number of opened files. We have seen an increase in reports of the error “Too many open files” when reducing spectroscopy data.

In your .bash_profile, add the following line to overcome that OS limitation:

ulimit -n 1024

2.4. Test the installation

Start up the Python interpreter and import astrodata and the gemini_instruments packages:

$ python
>>> import astrodata
>>> import gemini_instruments

If the imports are successful, i.e. no errors show up, exit Python (Ctrl-D).

Now test that reduce runs. There may be some delay as package modules are compiled and loaded:

$ reduce --help

This will print the reduce help to the screen.

If you have Gemini FITS files available, you can test that DRAGONS is functioning as expected as follow (replace the file name with the name of your file):

$ reduce N20180106S0700.fits -r prepare

If all is well, you will see something like:

                    --- reduce, v3.1.0 ---
All submitted files appear valid
Found 'prepare' as a primitive.
RECIPE: prepare
PRIMITIVE: prepare
  PRIMITIVE: validateData
  PRIMITIVE: standardizeStructure
  PRIMITIVE: standardizeHeaders
     PRIMITIVE: standardizeObservatoryHeaders
     Updating keywords that are common to all Gemini data
     PRIMITIVE: standardizeInstrumentHeaders
     Updating keywords that are specific to NIRI
Wrote N20180106S0700_prepared.fits in output directory

reduce completed successfully.