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Computer Operating System
Linux, Solaris, and Others

System Requirements

Aperture Photometry Tool (APT) is an all-Java software implementation. There are no software dependencies on other astronomical packages or libraries. However, you will need to have a recent version of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed on your machine. This version of APT was compiled with JDK 1.6.0_65.

APT can be installed and run on any computer with the JRE installed. This includes, but is not limited to, machines running Mac, Windows, Linux, and Solaris operating systems. The minimum memory requirement is probably around 200 MBytes. APT can be used on machines with relatively small memories to analyze portions of very large images, which is effected by setting the maximum image size under APT’s preferences menu to as little as 500 pixels on a side.

APT can be installed as a double-clickable application or can be executed from the command line. The former is particularly easy for Windows and Mac machines. In order to do the latter, the java command must be in the system’s path. To determine whether this is the case, type the following command in a command window:

java -version

You should see a response like

java version "1.6.0_65"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_65-b14-462-11M4609)
Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 20.65-b04-462, mixed mode)

APT Packages

The appropriate APT package must be downloaded for the target machine. The *.tar.gz package can be installed on all machines (but the *.zip package is more convenient for Windows machines), and is suitable for users running APT from a command window, but a slightly more complicated installation procedure must be followed in this case (e.g., see those for Linux machines). Most users will want to install APT as a double-clickable application, however. In this case, the *.zip package for Windows machines or the appropriate *.dmg package for Macs should be downloaded.

APT Package MD5 Checksum
All machines (except get the *.zip package for Windows): APT_v2.8.2.tar.gz 3947e669bccdb258834592c84b755b19
Windows machines: 9f41e7b21493be07c6f315428ba67442
Mac, regular-sized GUI: APT_v2.8.2.dmg f379d0117aca03ba92af1a6de389fa13
Mac, compact-sized GUI: APT_v2.8.2.compact.dmg 9e754583631cea9c8459988634052cef

Basic Installation and Execution Instructions

APT packages can be downloaded from here.

Windows Machines

The easiest way to install and execute APT on a Windows machine is as follows:

  1. Download the *.zip file.
  2. Unzip the file to a sensible location of your choice, perhaps the Desktop.
  3. Bring up a Windows Explorer window, navigate to the installed
    location, and double-click on the APT.exe Application file (which has the red and green APT logo as its icon).

A shortcut to APT.exe can be created and placed on the Windows Desktop for convenient access. Simply mouse-click on APT.exe with the right mouse button and choose “Create Shortcut”, and then drag the resulting “Shortcut to APT.exe” file to the Windows Desktop.

Please be careful to not double-click on either APT.jar or APT.bat. The former will launch APT, but insufficient memory will be allocated for large images. The latter will launch APT properly, but only if the Java bin directory is in the path of the operating system.


The easiest way to install and execute APT on a Mac is as follows:

  1. Download the appropriate *.dmg file.
  2. Double-click on the *.dmg if the Mac does not automatically open it.
  3. Drag the “Aperture Photometry” application to the /Applications folder.
  4. In the Mac’s Finder tool, navigate to the /Applications folder, and double-click on the “Aperture Photometry” application.

APT can be placed on the Mac’s dock for convenient access. Simply drag the APT folder from the /Applications directory over to the dock and hover to allow time for the existing dock icons to “make room” for APT.

If you encounter problems installing APT on your Mac…
On newer Macs, the following error may be displayed upon attempting to install the software: “Aperture Photometry Tool” is damaged and can’t be opened. However, the file is not damaged (and one can verify the MD5 checksum), and should work just fine after the security settings are (temporarily) loosened. To do this, navigate to menu

System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General

and change the radio-button selection under section “Allow apps downloaded from” to “Anywhere”. Please look at this note for further details.

However, the above workaround does not always work for the latest versions of Mac OS X. Here are two more things to try (try one, and, if that does not work, try the other):

  1. Some later versions of Mac OS X have removed the aforementioned “Anywhere” option for downloaded Apps under menu
    System Preferences > Security & Privacy

    You can try doing the following terminal fix to get the Anywhere option back:

    1. Close System preferences
    2. Open a Terminal window
    3. Enter
      sudo spctl --master-disable
    4. Enter Password
    5. Click on
      System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Anywhere
    6. Open APT
    7. To restore the higher-security setting, click
      System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Appstore and Identified Developers

    This covers it nicely:

    Thanks to Ross Cutts for this valuable bit of information in getting APT to work on his Mac OS Sierra machine.

  2. Or, try opening a Terminal window and entering the following command (you may need to modify the path depending on your specific set up):
    xattr -cr /Applications/Aperture\ Photometry\

    This was reported to work by Yoonsoo P. Bach of Seoul National University, South Korea for a Mac running macOS 10.14.4 Mojave. The original URL for this tip is

Linux, Solaris, and Other Machines

This section illustrates a general procedure for installing APT on computers with UNIX-like operating systems, including Macs, that meet the above system requirements (and even Windows machines, although advanced knowledge of Windows is required, including using batch files, setting environment variables, executing DOS commands from a Command-Prompt window, possibly using the DOS edit command to edit the APT.bat file). The following basic steps are involved (and more details are given afterwards):

  1. Download and uncompress the *.tar.gz file.
  2. Copy the file to an installation directory, like ~/Applications in the example below (the ~ symbol means the user’s home directory).
  3. Extract the contents of the *.tar file after uncompression.
  4. Set environment variables according to the details of the installation.
  5. Execute the appropriate script to launch APT (APT.csh for UNIX-like operating systems or APT.bat for Windows machines).

Note: it has been reported that Chrome gunzips the *.tar.gz file, but does not remove the “.gz” suffix from the filename, so you may have to manually rename the *.tar.gz file to *.tar. Alternatively, use Firefox instead to download the *.tar.gz file.

  • Installation instructions (and uninstalling previous version of APT):

         cp APT_v2.8.2.tar.gz ~/Applications
         cd ~/Applications
         rm -rf APT_v2.8.1 (if you installed it here last time)
         gunzip APT_v2.8.2.tar.gz
         tar xvf APT_v2.8.2.tar
         rm APT_v2.8.2.tar

    Now, you need to set up your environment. If your default shell is bash, add these lines to your ~/.bash_profile file (or change from 2.8.1 to 2.8.2 if you installed the previous version of APT):

         export APT_HOME=/Applications/APT_v2.8.2
         export PATH=$APT_HOME:$PATH
         export APT_ARCH=LINUX

    Special note: If your machine is running Ubuntu Linux, then add the above lines to ~/.profile instead of ~/bash_profile.

    If your default shell is csh or tcsh, add the following lines to your ~/.cshrc file (or change from 2.8.1 to 2.8.2 if you installed the previous version of APT):

         setenv APT_HOME /Applications/APT_v2.8.2
         setenv PATH ${APT_HOME}:${PATH}
         setenv APT_ARCH LINUX
  • Execution instructions:

    1. Bring up a new terminal window.
    2. Change to a working directory.
    3. Execute the following command in the new terminal window:

Changing APT’s GUI Size

APT has the option of displaying a smaller-sized GUI. This option is suitable for laptops with smaller screens. While the default GUI size is 1390 x 835 pixels, the compact-GUI size is 1220 x 800 pixels. The setting of environment variable APT_COMPACT=1 before executing APT will give the smaller GUI, and APT_COMPACT=0 or no setting will give the larger GUI. If you are happy with the larger-sized GUI, then you need not bother to set APT_COMPACT at all. For Macs, a different *.dmg file that is set up for the compact GUI can be downloaded.

Webpage last updated: September 18, 2019 at 5:48 a.m. Pacific Time.