What is EsoReflex?

EsoReflex is an environment that provides an easy and flexible way to reduce VLT/VLTI science data using the ESO pipelines. Its top-level functionalities are:
  • EsoReflex allows to graphically specify the sequence in which the data reduction steps are executed, including conditional stops, loops and conditional branches.
  • EsoReflex makes it easy to inspect the intermediate and final data products and to repeat selected processing steps to optimize the data reduction.
  • The data organization necessary to reduce the data is built into the system and is fully automatic.
  • Advanced users can plug-in their own modules and steps into the data reduction sequence. A tutorial with instructions and examples is available here.
  • EsoReflex supports the development of data reduction workflows based on the ESO Common Pipeline Library.

EsoReflex is based on the concept of a scientific workflow, whereby the data reduction cascade is rendered graphically and data seamlessly flow from one processing step to the next. It is distributed with a number of complete test datasets so that users can immediately start experimenting and familiarize themselves with the system.

For further information, please, refer to the latest EsoReflex User Manual.

EsoReflex is based on the open source workflow engine Kepler.

If you make use of EsoReflex or EsoReflex workflows in a scientific publication, please consider citing EsoReflex. You may reference the following paper: Automated Data Reduction Workflows for Astronomy: The ESO Reflex Environment, 2013, Freudling, W., et al., Astron.Astrophys., 559, A96 (Bibtex entry)

EsoReflex Latest Public Version

The latest public version of EsoReflex is 2.11.5

Officially Supported Pipelines

EsoReflex can be used with any CPL-based pipeline. Some pipelines provide EsoReflex-based workflows in their public releases. Please refer to this table for information about supported modes, tutorials, example data sets and user manuals.

EsoReflex System Requirements

EsoReflex is written in Java and is known to work in the following systems:
  • Fedora 28 to 32
  • CentOS 7
  • Scientific Linux 7
  • Ubuntu 16.04 18.04 18.10 19.04 20.04
  • Debian 9
  • macOS 10.14, 10.15 and 11
Any recent Linux distribution should be compatible with EsoReflex out of the box.

Additionally, some EsoReflex-based workflows might have extra software requirements (most notably python modules). Check EsoReflex-based workflows software prerequisites for more information.

Installing and running EsoReflex


EsoReflex 2.11.5 requires Java: the recommended version is 11, but 8 is also supported
NOTE: on macOS you can install the OpenJDK from here
Workflows may have other requirements, please refer to the workflow tutorial and to the pipeline user manual. There are two installation option: the automatic and the manual one.

Package managers for Fedora and macOS (recommended)

For Fedora it is strongly recommended to install it with our rpm repository. This repository includes both EsoReflex and the pipelines. Refer to the instructions provided here.

For Apple macOS, it is strongly recommended to install it with MacPorts. This repository includes both EsoReflex and the pipelines. Refer to the instructions provided here.

Automatic Installation with installation script

A script is provided that takes care of all the required steps to install and run EsoReflex:
  • It downloads and installs a pipeline kit, that contains the workflows associated to the pipeline.
  • It downloads and installs some test data.
  • It donwloads and installs EsoReflex.
  • It configures EsoReflex to point to the installed pipeline.
If you want to use this method, check the software requirements in the release information of this table, download the script and follow the instructions.

Manual method

If you don't want to use the automatic method (e.g. because you want to use a specific version of the pipeline), you can manually download and install EsoReflex following these steps:
  • Install the pipeline kit you are interested in. Only the recipes present in the output of
    esorex --recipes
    will be available to EsoReflex.
  • Download the latest stable version for Linux and macOS
  • Uncompress the package using gzip and tar.
  • Execute the reflex command in the bin directory under the distribution directory.

Installing Python dependencies for EsoReflex using conda

If you need to install the Python dependencies required to run EsoReflex and the pipeline workflows locally yourself, you can do this using a conda environment.
A detailed, step-by-step guide on how to setup a conda environment for EsoReflex can be found here

EsoReflex User Manual

Current Issue: 3.9

The EsoReflex User Manual is available for download in PDF format.

Reflex Workflow Development Guide

Current Issue: 1.0

The EsoReflex Workflow Development Guide is available for download in PDF format.

Bug Reports

If you experience an unexpected behavior of EsoReflex, please, first refer to the troubleshooting section in the User Manual. For any other issues or requests, please, send a report to the ESO User Support Department, describing:
  • the EsoReflex release you are using
  • the pipeline release you are using
  • the version of your OS
  • the exact sequence of actions you performed before the bug occurred
  • what were precisely the symptoms and the possible error message(s)
  • whether the bug is repeatable