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Align astronomical images

Project description

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A science frame autoguiding and image alignment algorithm with sub-pixel precision, capable of guiding on defocused stars.

Project documentation: https://donuts.readthedocs.io/en/latest/

See the changelog for latest changes.

Motivation

We operate or have access to several telescopes (NGTS, NITES, Warwick 1m, 1.5m San Pedro Martir) that require precise autoguiding. Sometimes we need to defocus a telescope but we would still like to autoguide. Donuts was designed to allow this. The algorithm had to be simple, fast and accurate. It has been shown to perform well as an autoguiding algorithm for equatorial telescopes (no field rotation).

The process of aligning apertures for photometry is essentially the same. Rather than correcting the telescope pointing, the apertures must track the drift of the stars. Donuts can therefore be used to track the stellar positions for CCD photometry also.

By default Donuts measures frame-to-frame translational offsets (X and Y) using all the stars in the image. The algorithm could be adjusted in the to select a specific region of interest (for extremely wide or distorted fields).

The algorithm has its limitations. It currently does not deal with rotation or very large drifts - where the field moves by approx. half a FOV or more. Our paper describing the details can be found here:

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2013PASP..125..548M

Example

Below is a sample of 10 nights autoguiding residuals from NGTS while using Donuts. The upper plot shows the frame-to-frame error, while the bottom shows the drift which would have occured if not for Donuts. Aligning photometry apertures is essentially the same process and similar performance is expected under that scenario. We routinely achieve an autoguiding RMS of 1/20 pixels with NGTS.

AgResiduals_802_March2016.png

Contributors

James McCormac, Simon Walker.

License

MIT License

Copyright (c) 2016 James McCormac & Simon Walker

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the “Software”), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED “AS IS”, WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

Project details


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