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For detailed information regarding data processing refer to the CASA and AIPS documentation pages.  The following information addresses details specific to executing CASA or AIPS at the NRAO.


To start the current release version of CASA, type


CASA derivatives, such as plotms or the viewer, can be started outside of the casa session, by typing

- 'casa' defaults to the latest CASA public release version that does not have the pipeline bundled.
- 'casa-vla' and 'casa-alma' default to the latest pipeline production versions of CASA for VLA and ALMA respectively. Production version refers to the CASA version that is bundled with a pipeline version.


To start the current release version of CASA with integrated pipeline tasks, type

See the CASA pipeline webpage for more details.

To see a list of other available CASA versions, type:

casa -ls

to start one of these versions, type casa -r <version>, where <version> is the release number as it appears in the list. For instance, to start casa 6.5.2-26-py3.6, type,

casa -r 6.5.2-26-py3.6

See CASA Guides or CASA Docs for more information.


When your account (nm-* or cv-*) is created, the necessary files to execute AIPS are also made by default. Therefore, to run AIPS on a cluster node, type

aips tv=local

If you need to manually set up your own AIPS data areas, do the following:

cd /lustre/aoc/observers/<account> # or wherever your Lustre area is
mkdir AIPS_1 # Create the directory touch AIPS_1/SPACE # Make an empty lock file (required)

Then add your data area to the ~/.dadevs.always file:

echo "+  /lustre/aoc/observers/<account>/AIPS_1" > ~/.dadevs.always

The "+" sign MUST be in the first column, and there MUST be exactly two spaces between it and the leading slash in /lustre.

If you need additional data areas, the first character must be a "-" sign like so

echo "-  /lustre/aoc/observers/<account>/AIPS_2" >> ~/.dadevs.always

This is because Disk 1 is special in AIPS as it contains the SAVE/GET files, the TGET file, the message file, command line history, and more.

NAASC (cvpost) only

There are six public areas on both NAASC and CV Lustre pre-defined in the standard data area list (DADEVS.LIST.VCOARN), all under:


So you can include these in your AIPS session by, e.g., specifying

aips da=CV


aips da=NAASC


Instructions for users within the NRAO network or with an NRAO account.

Warning: The default Firefox installation on some NRAO machines may not support the WebGL version of CARTA. Try Chrome or contact the helpdesk for an updated version of Firefox

Remotely Connecting to an NRAO Workstation or Cluster

You can invoke the stand-alone installation of carta by using the --no_browser switch:

  • via VPN

  1. Connect your home computer to the NRAO VPN

  2. (Optional) Reserve a cluster node in the usual manner

  3. $ ssh <username>@your_cluster_node or $ ssh <username>@your_workstation from your home computer, or from a terminal in a remote VNC or fastx desktop display

  4. from the ssh or VNC/fastx terminal, (optional) cd to the directory where the data you want to visualize live and (not optional) type one of the following:

    • $ carta --no_browser

    • $ APPIMAGE_EXTRACT_AND_RUN=1 carta --no_browser

    This starts the CARTA backend on the remote machine and prints a link to the terminal

  5. Copy the link printed to the screen to a web browser opened on your home computer (not a web browser within your VNC or fastx display).

  • Without an ssh tunnel

It is possible to start CARTA from a remote machine in the NRAO network using the following syntax:

$ PORT=3099 && ssh -L ${PORT}:localhost:${PORT} username@nodename.[aoc or cv].nrao.edu carta --host=localhost --port=${PORT} --no_browser

  • via ssh tunneling

To invoke the stand-alone installation of carta through ssh, use the following instructions:

  1. (Optional) Reserve a cluster node in the usual manner

  2. $ ssh username@ssh.aoc.nrao.edu (for NM)

    $ ssh username@polaris.cv.nrao.edu (for CV)

  3. $ ssh your_cluster_node (e.g., ssh nmpost43 or cvpost002)

  4. cd to the directory where the data you want to visualize live and (not optional) type the following:

    • $ carta --no_browser

  5. Get the following line:

    [info] CARTA is accessible at

  6. Pick the port number from the URL above (here: 3002) then, in a new terminal:

    $ ssh -N username@ssh.aoc.nrao.edu -L 3002:nmpost043.aoc.nrao.edu:3002 (for NM and example nmpost043)

    $ ssh -N username@polaris.cv.nrao.edu -L 3002:cvpost002.cv.nrao.edu:3002 (for CV and example cvpost002)

  7. Then, in a local browser, replace the URL but not port to ‘localhost’:

    $ http://localhost:3002/?token=052680c2-b602-4d8d-9ac4-e4cb1120f56b

NOTE: The window with the running CARTA session has to remain active either within a VNC or a "screen" session. If the terminal where you started CARTA is closed or times out, you will lose your browser session. The same is true for the ssh session used for tunneling, the window with the corresponding session has to stay open to keep the tunnel active.

NOTE: Using the CARTA stand-alone application version through VNC or fastx without the –no_browser option may not work or will lead to significantly diminished performance (since it bypasses CARTA’s graphics acceleration features). While this is how one would typical use the CASA viewer or DS9, this is not how CARTA is designed to be used.

NOTE: Many NRAO desktops here have 2 ethernet cards, one for the normal internet and another for a direct connection to the cluster. When starting carta —no_browser, it comes up with an URL, but it is not always the URL of the internet but sometimes the URL for the cluster ethernet card. Since that is not accessible from the internet, the star of CARTA fails.

The problem can be identified when the IP address in the CARTA URL come up starting 192.xxx, e.g.

CARTA will not start with the URL as it points to the cluster.

To find the IP address of the internet card, ping the desktop, e.g.

ping rocky PING rocky.aoc.nrao.edu ( 56(84) bytes of data.

(Another way is to run ‘ifconfig’ and check the output.)

There are two ways to use that information and provide the correct startup URL: 

1) replace the IP address in the CARTA link by the IP address from ping, leaving the rest of the URL intact

or 2) start CARTA with the --host option, in this example: 

carta --host

which will produce a the correct URL but for a new session like:

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