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Dust in the Milky Way

Project Description

Dust in 3D in the Milky Way


Please define an environment variable DUST_DIR before installing the code; this is a directory that will contain the dust data.

Standard python build/install


sudo python install


python install --prefix=/some/directory/

The installation automatically downloads the relevant dust data. You might have to define an environment variable SUDO_USER if not installing with sudo.

Dust Data

The code can automatically download all of the necessary data (use the installation option --no-downloads to turn this off). These data are put in subdirectories of a directory DUST_DIR, with roughly the following lay-out:


The data for the Drimmel et al. (2003) map is installed in the code directory, because it is not very large.


All of the maps can be initialized similar to:

import mwdust
drimmel= mwdust.Drimmel03(filter='2MASS H')
sfd= mwdust.SFD(filter='2MASS H')

which sets up a Drimmel et al. (2003) map for the H-band filter. The maps can be evaluate for a given Galactic longitude l, Galactic latitude b, and an array (or scalar) of distances D:

drimmel(60.,0.,3.) # inputs are (l,b,D)
array([ 0.42794197])
array([ 0.24911393,  0.53050198,  0.78045575,  1.14657304])
# SFD is just the constant SFD extinction
array([ 1.19977335,  1.19977335,  1.19977335])

and they can be plotted as:

drimmel.plot(55.,0.5) # inputs are (l,b)

(plot not shown).

Supported bandpasses

Currently only a few filters are supported; if no filter is supplied, E(B-V) is returned on the SFD scale if the object is initialized with sf10=True (which tells the code to use re-scalings from Schlafly & Finkbeiner 2011). sf10=True is the default initialization for every map, so be careful in interpreting the raw E(B-V) that come out of the code. Only use sf10=False when you have an extinction map in true E(B-V), not SFD E(B-V). No map currently included in this package is in this situation, so using sf10=False is never recommended.

To check what bandpasses are supported on the sf10=True scale do (these are all the bandpasses from Table 6 in Schlafly & Finkbeiner 2011):

from mwdust.util import extCurves

which gives:

['Stromgren u',
 'Stromgren v',
 'ACS clear',
 'CTIO R',
 'CTIO V',
 'CTIO U',
 'CTIO I',

To check the bandpasses that are supported on the old SFD scale (sf10=False), do:


which gives:

array(['CTIO R', 'CTIO V', 'CTIO U', 'CTIO I', 'CTIO B', 'DSS-II i',
 'DSS-II g', 'WISE-1', 'WISE-2', 'DSS-II r', 'UKIRT H', 'UKIRT J',
 'UKIRT K', 'IRAC-1', 'IRAC-2', 'IRAC-3', 'IRAC-4', '2MASS H',
 'SDSS r', 'SDSS u', 'SDSS z', 'SDSS g', 'SDSS i', '2MASS Ks',
 '2MASS J'],


When making use of this code in a publication, please cite Bovy et al. (2015a). Also cite the relevant papers for the dust map that you use:

Release History

Release History

This version
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