FITS Liberator

The release of version 4 of the popular NOIRLab/IPAC/ESA/STScI/CfA FITS Liberator image processing software has meant that it is even easier and faster to create color images using raw observations from a range of telescopes, including Gemini at NSF’s NOIRLab, NASA’s Spizer Space Telescope, NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescopes or the telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory or Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory.

The new FITS Liberator has been revamped using modern libraries for fast processing and a smooth graphic interface with a new look and now including a very useful command line interface.

To sustain the future development of the software the entire source code, is being released as open source, and anyone wishing to contribute to future versions of the programme may do so.

Version 4.0 new features

  • Full Support of 64-bit operating systems. 
  • Installers available for Windows, MacOSX and Linux.
  • Command Line Interface available for batch processing of FITS files.
  • Full support for big images (even greater than available memory).
  • Dark mode.
  • Full Screen support.
  • FITS Liberator saves TIFF files that open in virtually any image processing software.
  • Open-source code base available on:


Minimum requirements:

  • Windows 10 (64 bit) or Mac (OS X 10.14+)
  • Screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels or better

Downloading and Installing

Binaries for each operating system can be downloaded from NORLab Applications Archive, you will find the installers for Windows, MacOSX and Linux. Command line interface is included with the installed version.

Installing on Windows

Download the installer for Windows, just double-click over the exe downloaded file

screenshot of the installation process in windows

The installation process is very straightforward and you will get the software running after the install process finished. 

Installing on MacOSX

Download the DMG File, double click over the file to mount the image, 

screenshot of the installation process in MACOS

Just drag the FL4 Icon to the Applications folder and drop it.

Installing on Linux (Ubuntu and Debian)

Download the deb package, you will need to install the required libraries, libvips and cfitsio using the commands:

$ sudo apt install libvips

Note: Some versions require the use of the “universe” repository before installing libvips.

$ sudo dpkg -i fitsliberator_4.0.0_amd64.deb

screenshot of the installation process in linux

The FITS Liberator 4 team

The team that produced the NOIRLab/IPAC/ESA/STScI/CfA FITS Liberator 4 consists of:

  • Developers, CLI and GUI development: Juan Fajardo & David Zambrano 
  • Scientific, technical support and testing: Robert Hurt
  • Technical Project Manager: Javier Enciso
  • Project Executive: Lars Lindberg Christensen

The team that produced the ESA/ESO/NASA FITS Liberator 3 were

  • Technical Project Manager: Lars Holm Nielsen
  • Developers: Kaspar K. Nielsen & Teis Johansen
  • Scientific, technical support and testing: Robert Hurt & Davide de Martin.
  • Project originators: Lars Lindberg Christensen & Robert Hurt
  • Project Executive: Lars Lindberg Christensen


FITS is an abbreviation for Flexible Image Transport System and has been a standard since 1982 and is recognized by the International Astronomical Union.

The NOIRLab/IPAC/ESA/STScI/CfA FITS Liberator 4 uses NASA’s CFITSIO library, Libvips, OpenSeaDragon, ReactJS, ElectronJS, and D3.js.

We kindly ask users to acknowledge the use of this plug-in in publicly accessible products (web, articles, books etc.) with the following statement: "This image was created with the help of the NOIRLab/IPAC/ESA/STScI/CfA FITS Liberator".