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Mathematical Morphology - Theory and Applications

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Statistical attribute filtering to detect faint extended astronomical sources

Paul Teeninga / Ugo Moschini / Scott C. Trager / Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Published Online: 2016-03-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mathm-2016-0006


In astronomy, sky surveys contain a large number of light-emitting sources, often with intensities close to the noise level. Automatic extraction of astronomical objects is therefore needed. SExtractor is a widely used program for automated source extraction and cataloguing, but it is not optimal with faint extended sources. Using SExtractor as a reference, the paper describes an improvement of a previous method proposed by the authors. It is a Max-Tree-based method for extraction of faint extended sources without using a stronger image smoothing. The Max-Tree structure is a hierarchical representation of an image, in which attributes can be computed in every node. Object detection is performed on the nodes of the tree and it relies on the distribution of a statistic calculated using the power attribute, compared to the expected distribution in case of noise. Statistical tests are presented, a comparison with the object extraction of SExtractor is shown and results are discussed.

Keywords: Attribute filters; statistical tests; astronomical imaging; object detection


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About the article

Received: 2015-07-09

Accepted: 2016-02-18

Published Online: 2016-03-30

Citation Information: Mathematical Morphology - Theory and Applications, ISSN (Online) 2353-3390, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mathm-2016-0006.

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© 2016 Paul Teeninga et al.. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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