Developing for Lightkurve#

Lightkurve is an open-source, community driven package. We strongly encourage users to contribute and develop new features for Lightkurve. These pages first discuss the vision of Lightkurve, and then how to contribute Pull Requests on github for new features. These pages also discuss how to compile our documentation (including this page!) and how we release a new version of Lightkurve. Use the menu bar on the left to scroll through the docs or click below.

Developer documentation#

Setting up a Development Environment#

To set up a development environment for Lightkurve you can follow the steps below.

The first step is to create a copy of Lightkurve’s GitHub repository by logging into GitHub, browsing to, and clicking the Fork button in the top right corner.

Head to a local directory of your choice and download your fork:

$ git clone

Lightkurve uses the poetry package to create an isolated development environment which you can use to modify and test changes to the source code without interfering with your existing Python environment.

You can set up the environment as follows:

$ cd lightkurve
$ python -m pip install poetry
$ poetry install

A key advantage of the development environment is that any changes you make to the Lightkurve source code will be reflected right away, i.e., there is no need to re-install Lightkurve or the environment after every change.

To run code in the development environment, you will need to prefix every Python command with poetry run. For example:

$ poetry run python
$ poetry run jupyter notebook
$ poetry run pytest  # runs all the unit tests

You can find more details on the poetry website, and you can find additional examples of tasks developers commonly execute in the development environment in Lightkurve’s Makefile.


The use of poetry is not required to prepare and propose modifications to Lightkurve. If you wish to do so, you can install the development version in your current Python environment as follows:

$ cd lightkurve
$ python -m pip install .

In this scenario, you will have to re-run pip install . every time you make changes to the source code.

To avoid this extra step, you have the option of creating a symbolic link from your environment’s site-packages directory to the lightkurve source code tree as follows:

$ python -m pip uninstall lightkurve
$ python -m pip install --editable .  # creates the symbolic link

This “editable install” method requires pip version 21.3 or higher. While this method of installing Lightkurve is not usually recommended, it can be useful when you wish to modify and test multiple different packages in a single environment.

To be able to pull in any recent changes, we need to tell your copy of lightkurve where the upstream repository is located:

$ git remote add upstream

To verify that everything is setup correctly, execute:

$ git remote -v

You should see something like this:

origin (fetch)
origin (push)
upstream (fetch)
upstream (push)