CCDVIEW: view ST-x and FITS (CCD) images
[ documentation | download | links ]
Screenshot [151 kB gif] of ccdview sessions. PGPLOT Window 1 is an image of M42 Great nebula in Orion with color palette called Red Temperature (adapted from IDL 4.0.1). The histogram of this image is displayed in Window 2.

Another two windows show ccdview in astrometry / photometry mode and zoom of current cursor position. Any input / output is displayed on terminal. The snapshot shows eclipsing variable star X Tri.

CCDVIEW is a simple program developed for Unix / Xwindow systems for quick viewing images produced by SBIG CCD cameras, its basic features may be summarized as follows:


The program was developed in C and FORTRAN77 using PGPLOT library for graphics output and primary ported for Linux. The sources are also for disposal, if you would like to make a port suitable for your system (I have already tested Sun Sparc station with SUN OS 5.0). Let me know, if you were succesful.

The basic usage is:

ccdview [ options ] [ files ]
Try ccdview --help to obtain a help message on command-line options, and ccdview --version for version information. You may also use a driver called ccd. CCDVIEW opens one graphics window to display the image, informations about current image are printed on the terminal. Next image will be displayed by pressing <left> mouse button in the graphics window. A brief help to keystrokes will be displayed by pressing ?, the detailed explanation of all hot keys follows.

Modes - The program works in three basic modes: normal mode is useful for displaying images and interactive change of background, range, color palette and subsequent GIF export. The photometry mode serves simple aperture photometry and astrometry measurements, some of the keystrokes change their meaning! In the listing mode program allows to scroll through the list of image filenames.

Keystrokes - All the keys are active only when the graphical display is highlited, either if you enter the background value. <middle> mouse button is sometimes emulated by pressing <left> and <rigth> together.

or <enter>
next image, after last image quit, in photometry mode display the current position x, y, pixel value, position of centroid, separation and angle from current position magnitude (set photometry box and background before inspecting magnitudes) and diffuse magnitude
or p
previous image
? comprehensive help message
q quit, if in photometry mode quit it
or <space>
enter photometry mode, cursor is changed to cross-hair
l toggle listing mode
g export GIF image, the extension .gif is added to the filename, the recent background, range and color palette is used
e export PostScript image, the extension .ps is added to the filename
f, F L/R and T/B flip
z toggle zoom, in photometry mode display values in the current photometry box
h toggle histogram display
v toggle palette display
P toggle display of profile graphs
a toggle autocontrast
b enter value of backgroud
r enter range, pixels with values higher than background + range will be displayed as "white" (depends on current color palette)
w enter width of display window [inch], scale image
B in photometry mode display the recent backgroud value
c change color palette, available palettes are eg. grayscale, inverse, "red temperature", green-yellow-white, blue-pastel-red, magenta-white, blue-white, blue-yellow-white, green-white, lightblue-yellow, yellow-white.
C change image transfer function, select logarithmic to enhance faint parts of nebulae
s in photometry mode set magnitude, calibrate
i in photometric mode use photometric defaults instead of calibrated magnitude
t toggle photometry box, available sizes are squares 1×1 upto 31×31
/ flatfield correction, the default filename of flatfield image could be set up in
- darkframe subtract, the default filename of darkframe image could be set up in

Parameter file - Many options and defaults could be set up in this parameter file as documented therein. The search path for and palette files is ./: /usr/X11R6/lib/ccdview: /usr/local/lib/ccdview: /usr/local/bin.

DOS utility - The DOS code was written in Turbo Pascal 6.0. This utility uses the same subroutines for reading and decompression of CCD images, but its capabilities are very restricted against the full featured Unix / Xwindow version. Possible graphics resolutions are 640x400 upto 1024x768 in 256 colors, Jordan Hargraphix Software SVGA driver ver 3.2 was used. You would like to customize preferences in file. This parameter file could be placed either in the same directory as ccdview.exe or in current directory. The usage is:

ccdview [ files ]
e. g. ccdview *.255, ccdview c:\ccdops\data0410\*.* The program will display all images with short info about them. <enter> or <space> moves to the next one, b, r sets background and range to the specified values - you have to type a number and press <enter>, no prompt is displayed.

Download & installation

Binary distribution is supported for Linux (i386/glibc RPMs), users using different platforms have to download the source code, decompress it, edit the Makefile and compile its own port by usual commands make and make install.

PGPLOT library have to be properly installed to compile CCDVIEW. The binary distribution contains those parts of library needed to run the program: Set up PGPLOT_DIR variable to the /usr/local/lib/pgplot in your .profile and put both pgxwin_server and grfont.dat to that directory.

Download recent versions from

The simple DOS utility might be downloaded from here:          27 kB  Jul 26th 2001   DOS utility

Links & references

Miroslav Broz (, last updated Feb 20th 2002