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Proceedings Paper

The realization of an automated data reduction pipeline in IRAF: the PhotMate system
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Paper Abstract

Developments in imaging technology over the past decade have provided impetus toward the realization of automated data reduction systems within the astronomical community. These developments, in particular advances in CCD technology, have meant that the data envelope associated with even modest observing programmes can reach gigabyte volumes. We describe the development of an automated data reduction system for differential photometry called PhotMate. For issues of reuse and interoperability the system was developed entirely within the IRAF environment and now forms the backbone of our data analysis procedure. We discuss the methodologies behind its implementation and the use of IRAF scripts for the realization of an automated process. Finally, we place the effectiveness of such a system in context by reference to two recent observing runs at the Calar Alto observatory where we tested a new low light level (L3) CCD. It is our belief that this observing campaign is an important indicator of future trends in observational optical astronomy. As the cost of such devices decreases, their usage will increase and with it the volume of data collectively generated, toppling large astronomical projects as the primary data generators.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 September 2004
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 5493, Optimizing Scientific Return for Astronomy through Information Technologies, (16 September 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.551178
Show Author Affiliations
Stephen O'Driscoll, Cork Institute of Technology (Ireland)
Niall J. Smith, Cork Institute of Technology (Ireland)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5493:
Optimizing Scientific Return for Astronomy through Information Technologies
Peter J. Quinn; Alan Bridger, Editor(s)

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