The Python programs offered here result from the development of methodology for processing image data with high precision, in a flexible command line system useful for astronomical and laboratory image processing. The acronym Alsvid is also an old Norse name meaning ``Very Quick'' for one of the two horses who pull the Chariot of Sol across the sky. Alsvid is efficient in robotic and automated or scripted server processing of astronomical images, and also in interactive command line processing for research and visualization.
Python is a widely used tool for basic research and engineering. Its rapid rise in popularity is supported by comprehensive, largely open-source, contributions from scientists who use it for their own work. Astronomers and physicists have found that it is powerful alternative to restrictively licensed software, or legacy systems developed before modern computing environments became available on every desktop. Python is available for Linux, Mac OS, and Windows operating systems.
Alsvid provides practical routines based on standard libraries. It is not a library in itself, but a collection of command line programs that can be combined for complex data and image processing tasks. In large part it replaces IRAF and IDL when scripted image processing is required. For interactive processing or live observing, consider AstroImageJ, our Java environment for FITS image processing, precision photometry, and exoplanet light curve analysis.