This guide does not cover software more specific to certain projects (like the fully autonomous software to reduce and analyze data for the transit search program). The tasks described here can be strung together in an order which is sensible for reducing a night's data (e.g., reducing calibration images, combining them, then applying these to the reduction of object images). The tasks can be run interactively or in an automated way when supplied with parameter files describing user preferences.
The software consists of Perl scripts (version 5.6), IRAF "shell" scripts, FORTRAN77 programs, and the library for FITSIO, which is a utility written in C (called by FORTRAN in this case) to perform input and output functions on FITS images. The software will probably compile and run on any UNIX-like system. It is (or will be) installed on the data reduction computer at the RCT. All of the software is freely available and can be installed elsewhere as well or incorporated in software written by other users.
The software to reduce images from the RCT Camera is customized for two main reasons: 1) We wish to have a fairly high degree of automation, which is something not available from standard astronomical data reduction software. Since the format of the image header is fixed, we can rely on it, rather than the user, to make decisions about what should be done with each image. 2) The CCD's multi-amplifier readout modes are not handled by standard reduction software like IRAF.
The software can be operated on a couple of different levels. There are low level scripts and programs (e.g., rctred and rctcom), which perform relatively simple tasks, and higher level programs (e.g., rctnight) that call on the low level scripts to perform more complex processes which (hopefully) can save some work on the part of the user. The user can interact with either level. All of the software described here is run using an executable file which is invoked from within the UNIX or Linux shell. The scripts, programs, and related files are outlined below, then the most important are described individually in more detail.