Introducing ADAPTSMOOTH, a new code for the adaptive smoothing of astronomical images

Stefano Zibetti (MPIA Heidelberg, Dark Cosmology Centre Copenhagen)
Arxiv ID: 0911.4956Last updated: 11/5/2021
We introduce and publicly release a new code, ADAPTSMOOTH, which serves to smooth astronomical images in an adaptive fashion, in order to enhance the signal-to-noise ratio (S/N). The adaptive smoothing scheme allows to take full advantage of the spatially resolved photometric information contained in an image in that at any location the minimal smoothing is applied to reach the requested S/N. Support is given to match more images on the same smoothing length, such that proper estimates of local colours can be done, with a big potential impact on multi-wavelength studies of extended sources (galaxies, nebulae). Different modes to estimate local S/N are provided. In addition to classical arithmetic-mean averaging mode, the code can operate in median averaging mode, resulting in a significant enhancement of the final image quality and very accurate flux conservation. To this goal also other code options are implemented and discussed in this paper. Finally, we analyze in great detail the effect of the adaptive smoothing on galaxy photometry, in particular in terms of surface brightness (SB) profiles and aperture photometry: deviations in SB with respect to the original image can be limited to <0.01 mag, with flux difference in apertures of less than 0.001 mag.

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