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This is a python package providing an interface to perform F-statistic based continuous gravitational wave (CW) searches.

For documentation, please use the wiki.


python installation

The scripts are written in python 2.7+ and therefore require a working python installation. While many systems come with a system wide python installation, it can often be easier to manage a user-specific python installation. This way one does not require root access to install or remove modules. One method to do this, is to use the conda system, either through the stripped down miniconda installation, or the full-featured anaconda (these are essentially the same, but the anaconda version installs a variety of useful packages such as numpy and scipy by default).

The fastest/easiest method is to follow your OS instructions here which will install Miniconda.

For the rest of this tutorial, we will make use of pip to install modules ( not all packages can be installed with conda and for those using alternatives to conda, pip is more universal).

This can be installed with

$ conda install pip

Clone the repository

In a terminal, to clone the directory:

$ git clone git@gitlab.aei.uni-hannover.de:GregAshton/PyFstat.git


pyfstat makes uses the following external python modules:


  • tqdm(optional), if installed, this provides a useful progress bar and estimate of the remaining run-time.
  • bashplotlib, if installed, presents a histogram of the loaded SFT data

For an introduction to installing modules see here. If you are using pip, to install all of these modules, run

$ pip install -r /PATH/TO/THIS/DIRECTORY/requirements.txt

In addition to these modules, you also need a working swig-enabled lalapps with at least lalpulsar. A minimal confuration line to use when installing lalapps is

$ ./configure --prefix=${HOME}/lalsuite-install --disable-all-lal --enable-lalpulsar --enable-lalapps --enable-swig

pyfstat installation

The script can be installed system wide, assuming you are in the source directory, via

$ python setup.py install

or simply add this directory to your python path. To check that the installation was successful, run

$ python -c 'import pyfstat'

if no error message is output, then you have installed pyfstat. Note that the module will be installed to whichever python executable you call it from.

Ephemeris installation

The scripts require a path to ephemeris files in order to use the lalpulsar.ComputeFstat module. This can either be specified when initialising each search (as one of the arguments), or simply by placing a file ~/.pyfstat.conf into your home directory which looks like

earth_ephem = '/home/<USER>/lalsuite-install/share/lalpulsar/earth00-19-DE421.dat.gz'
sun_ephem = '/home/<USER>/lalsuite-install/share/lalpulsar/sun00-19-DE421.dat.gz'

here, we use the default ephemeris files provided with lalsuite.


  • Greg Ashton
  • David Keitel
  • Reinhard Prix
  • Karl Wette
  • Sylvia Zhu

This project is open to development, please feel free to contact us for advice or just jump in and submit a pull request.