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Last modified: 12 December 2018

[ChIPS logo]

The Chandra Imaging and Plotting System

ChIPS is the imaging and plotting platform for CIAO. It can be used during data analysis - e.g. to plot a lightcurve - and to create publication-quality figures. A range of examples are included in the ChIPS Gallery and there are a number of Introductory threads to guide beginners.

As of the CIAO 4.11 release, the development of ChIPS has stopped and the CXC's plan is to retire ChIPS in the next year or so. CIAO 4.11 includes version 2.2.3 of Matplotlib alongside ChIPS, and a ChIPS to Matplotlib conversion guide is provided to help CIAO users convert. Please contact the CXC Helpdesk if you need help or have questions about this conversion.

In CIAO 4.11, ChIPS is still the default plotting package for Sherpa (although it is possible to switch to using Matplotlib), and ChIPS is also used by prism and the ds9 analysis extension (dax) for DS9.

[Three-color Chandra image of the Eta Carina nebula]

ChIPS is designed for use in a variety of modes: as a user-interactive application - including a GUI - and in batch mode. ChIPS is an importable module for the Python scripting language and is available as a C/C++ library for software developers.

In interactive mode, undo and redo commands allow the user to easily step forward and backward through previous commands. Users have fine control over the figure display: setting colors, changing font styles, repositioning objects. The many object attributes can be changed at any time during the session, and the change is immediately visible in the ChIPS window. These attribute changes can be made from the command line or from the ChIPS GUI. The default values may also be changed and saved as a preferences files, which can be used in any ChIPS session.

The ChIPS session can be saved into either a platform-independent state file or a Python script. The session can then be restored at any time, even on another machine.