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Proceedings Paper

Data Processing In Infrared Astronomy
Author(s): Robert F. Pelzmann
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Paper Abstract

Infrared astronomy is often done with rocket probes or orbiting satellite telescopes to escape the limitations of atmospheric absorption. The data returned from such missions is a highly abstracted digital representation of the measurements made by the analog detectors. The ability and methods needed to locate and measure stars and other infrared emmision from these data streams depends on a thorough understanding of the information flow from the telescope aperature to the computer center. This paper surveys the salient components of this end-to-end concept and the impact each has on the data processing algorithms, including the division between on-board and ground processing for scientific measurements. The most important step in this chain is the detection of sources in the noisy data. The various detection algorithms which have been used in rocket probe and satellite programs are reviewed and their performances compared. Specific algorithms, including thres-holding, peak detection, and matched filtering are shown to be equivalent to an optimal correlation algorithm under different simplifying assumptions. The performance of this optimal algorithm on data from an infrared satellite sky survey is presented. Once detection is completed, the scientific value of the measurements hinges on the methods used to eliminate redundancy and spurious sources, and to measure the positions and brightness of the sources. The impact of reliability and completeness criteria on the choice of these algorithms is presented and compared to previous programs. The importance of the end-to-end concept in meeting these criteria becomes obvious from a discussion of the successes and failures in previous efforts.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 December 1978
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 0156, Modern Utilization of Infrared Technology IV, (12 December 1978); doi: 10.1117/12.956759
Show Author Affiliations
Robert F. Pelzmann, NASA Ames Research Center (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0156:
Modern Utilization of Infrared Technology IV
Irving J. Spiro, Editor(s)

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