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A backwards-incompatible, python3 compatible, pyraf-free version of PyKE: a suite of tools to analyze Kepler/K2 data

Project description

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Developed since 2012, PyKE offers a user-friendly way to inspect and analyze the pixels and lightcurves obtained by NASA’s Kepler, K2, and TESS missions.


Documentation is hosted at

What’s new in PyKE v3? (July 2017)

PyKE3 is the latest generation of the Kepler/K2/TESS toolkit. It provides the following key improvements:

  • PyKE3 is now a pip-installable package and supports both Python 2 and 3
  • tasks are now available both as command-line tools and Python functions
  • PyKE3 no longer depends on PyRAF and is TESS-ready
  • PyKE3 address performance issues specially noticeable in short-cadence data
  • documentation and tutorials are now generated using Sphinx
  • the development has been moved to GitHub to encourage user contributions


If you have a working version of Python 2 or 3 on your system (we recommend Anaconda Python), you can simply install the latest stable release of PyKE using pip:

$ pip install pyketools

With PyKE installed, you can directly visualize frames from a target pixel file. For example, let’s visualize the pixels of Kepler target KIC008462852 (a.k.a. Tabby’s Star):

$ kepmask kplr008462852-2013098041711_lpd-targ.fits.gz --maskfile mask.txt

kepmask is an interactive tool used to create a custom aperture mask which can subsequently be used in other PyKE tasks.

For example, we can now use the kepextract task to perform aperture photometry using the pixels defined using kepmask above:

$ kepextract kplr008462852-2013098041711_lpd-targ.fits.gz --outfile lightcurve.fits --maskfile mask.txt

This creates a file called lightcurve.fits which contains a lightcurve in a format similar to those found in the official archive. To visualize the resulting light curve, we can use kepdraw:

$ kepdraw lightcurve.fits


Users are welcome to open issues or pull requests. You can also contact the development team via


If you find this code useful in your research, please cite both (Vinícius et al. 2017) and (Still & Barclay, 2012) using the BibTeX provided below. Also, please give us a GitHub star!

  author       = {Zé Vinícius and
                  Geert Barentsen and
                  Michael Gully-Santiago and
                  Ann Marie Cody and
                  Christina Hedges and
                  Martin Still and
                  Tom Barclay},
  title        = {KeplerGO/PyKE},
  month        = jul,
  year         = 2017,
  doi          = {10.5281/zenodo.835583},
  url          = {}

  author       = {{Still}, M. and {Barclay}, T.},
  title        = "{PyKE: Reduction and analysis of Kepler Simple Aperture Photometry data}",
  keywords     = {Software},
  howpublished = {Astrophysics Source Code Library},
  year         = 2012,
  month        = aug,
  archivePrefix= "ascl",
  eprint       = {1208.004},
  adsurl       = {}

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