twitter bots


Robot GALAH tweets once per hour, giving the details of a random star from the Third Data Release of the GALAH Survey.

Technical details

The bot is run from a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. It is written in Python, because that is my language of choice. The code for the bot is found on GitHub.

Each hour, a random star is selected from the GALAH DR3 catalogues. There is then a check of SIMBAD astronomical database at the Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg (CDS) to find if there an entry for the star and a ‘‘nice’’ name for the star. The tweet text is composed that includes when we observed the star, which constellation it is found in, its distance, age, and mass, and a link the CDS Portal.

For the plots of the stellar paramaters and orbital properties, it is basically just a bunch of bespoke matplotlib convenience functions that I wrote for plotting GALAH data. I use mpl-scatter-density to make the background distributions.

To retrieve a colour JPEG for the 15 arcmins around the star, I use a combination of tools provided by CDS: MOC Server tool and hips2fits. The MOC Server identifies the list of sky surveys that the star is found in, and then hips2fits is used to download the image from the ‘‘best’’ survey.

The reduced, normalized spectrum of the star are retrieved using the Simple Spectral Access protocol from Data Central, and then plotted with matplotlib.