What types of services can I expect as an IRAF user?

      NOAO no longer operates a HelpDesk, see for user support.
	Information about IRAF can be found in our anonymous ftp network
archive (  or our home page
We've also set up an alternate newsgroup hierarchy called 'adass' (after
the ADASS conference series) to handle not only the IRAF related groups but
any astronomical data analysis software system.  More information on these
services is found below.

What sort of on-line help is available in IRAF?

	Help for all tasks is available simply by typing "help <taskname>".
Typing the 'help' command by itself in a package will list a one-line
description of all tasks within the package.  Users can search for help on
a particular topic using the REFERENCES task.  Additional help topics are
available with certain packages, these are listed with the package help
file.  Lastly, the IRAF system contains some documentation in the iraf$doc
directory, these are unformatted TROFF files or IRAF help pages mostly
these found here include system manager's guides, installation manuals, etc).
	Additional documentation in the form of cookbooks and user's guides
are available from the IRAF network archive in the iraf/docs
subdirectory.  The 'README' file there serves as a table of contents for
what is available, all files are compressed PostScript and can be transferred
via anonymous ftp.

Where can I send general questions about IRAF?

      NOAO no longer operates a HelpDesk, see for user support.

Is there an IRAF network archive; how do I access it; what's in it?

	The iraf network archive address is (, log
in via anonymous ftp (i.e. as user 'anonymous', give your email address as
the password).   The archive contains the IRAF distribution for every supported
architecture (in the iraf subdirectory), as well as external layered packages
(in the iraf/extern subdir), user-contributed software (in contrib), IRAF doc-
umentation (iraf/docs), ADASS conference information (iraf/conf), and much

Is there an IRAF network mail facility yet? How do I access it?

	The new network service that just went into operation is a USENET and
email based network news facility.  This consists of a collection of newsgroups
organized as a USENET alternate news hierarchy called 'adass', after the
software conference of the same name (astronomical data analysis software
and systems).  Although our main interest in developing this was to have a
place to put some IRAF newsgroups, we named the new news hierarchy 'adass'
in case there is any interest in expanding this in the future to include
other non-IRAF astronomy software newsgroups.
	The advantage of an alternate news hierarchy is that it is easier to
target the desired community, in our case the astronomical community.  The
disadvantage of starting a new news hierarchy is that initially there is no
distribution system in place.  To carry the newsgroups locally a site must
get a feed from some other site.  To read or post news, an individual need
only have some NNTP-based newsreader software and access to an NNTP (network
news) server somewhere on the net which carries the desired newsgroups and
which permits the user to read and post news.  As part of the mail network
project we will be providing an NNTP server on the main IRAF server which will allow anyone to read and post to the adass newsgroups
(but only to those newsgroups).
	The current list of newsgroups are the following (this may change):
    adass.general                   important announcements
    adass.misc                      miscellaneous discussion
    adass.admin                     adass newsgroup administration
    adass.test                      test postings
    adass.conference                adass software conference
    adass.iraf.readme               the mail network README file
    adass.iraf.announce             new iraf software or facilities
    adass.iraf.applications         applications discussion group
    adass.iraf.programming          programming discussion group
    adass.iraf.system               system issues, system administration
    adass.iraf.misc                 miscellaneous discussion
    adass.iraf.buglog               project buglogs (computer generated)
    adass.iraf.sources              small programs or documents
The adass.iraf newsgroups are intended to be shared by the IRAF user
community and all the groups and individuals developing software for IRAF
(i.e., not just the NOAO IRAF group).  To subscribe to newsgroups and get
a feed directly interested users should contact the iraf group.
	Since the adass groups are available to an NNTP-based newsreader they
can be accessed by anyone using a command such as
	% xrn -nntpServer
We now have mail drops for all the ADASS newsgroups.  The mail address for
each group is the newsgroup name with the dots replaced with dashes, e.g.
"adass.iraf.applications" becomes "".
That is a lot to type so there are also aliases for the more important
    Alias          Newsgroup
    adass          adass-conference
    announce       adass-iraf-announce
    sources        adass-iraf-sources
    apps           adass-iraf-applications
    misc           adass-iraf-misc
    prog           adass-iraf-programming
    sys            adass-iraf-system
In this way users can 'post' and read to the various groups until a feed is
set up directly to their site.

Can I get IRAF newsgroup information through a listserver?

 Yes, you can get newsgroup information via a listserver.  The list server
address is "".  To get information about the list
server send it the following request:
               % mail
(You can omit the 'Subject:' line).  This will cause a list of all the commands
recognized by the list server to be returned via e-mail.
To subscribe to a newsgroup send the following request to the listserver:
    subscribe <newsgroup> <your name and affiliation> e.g.
    % mail
    subscribe adass-iraf-announce "Joe Smith, Boston University"
    subscribe adass-iraf-buglog "Joe Smith, Boston University"
Note that the "dashed" form of the newsgroup/list name is used for the
listserver, rather than the "dotted" form.  Multiple requests can be
included on successive lines, for example to subscribe to multiple
newsgroups.  To unsubscribe from a newsgroup send the "unsubscribe
<newsgroup>" request.

What is the IRAFINFO facility?

 General information about the IRAF software is available via e-mail through
the IRAFINFO facility.  To get started send the following message to the
IRAFINFO server:
               % mail
               get iraf info
For a list of all the files available via the IRAFINFO facility send the
request "index iraf" to irafinfo.