Faint Object Detection in Multi-Epoch Observations via Catalog Data Fusion [IMA]

http://arxiv.org/abs/1611.03171


Observational astronomy in the time-domain era faces several new challenges. One of them is the efficient use of observations obtained at multiple epochs. The work presented here addresses faint object detection with multi-epoch data, and describes an incremental strategy for separating real objects from artifacts in ongoing surveys, in situations where the single-epoch data are summaries of the full image data, such as single-epoch catalogs of flux and direction estimates for candidate sources. The basic idea is to produce low-threshold single-epoch catalogs, and use a probabilistic approach to accumulate catalog information across epochs; this is in contrast to more conventional strategies based on co-added or stacked image data across all epochs. We adopt a Bayesian approach, addressing object detection by calculating the marginal likelihoods for hypotheses asserting there is no object, or one object, in a small image patch containing at most one cataloged source at each epoch. The object-present hypothesis interprets the sources in a patch at different epochs as arising from a genuine object; the no-object (noise) hypothesis interprets candidate sources as spurious, arising from noise peaks. We study the detection probability for constant-flux objects in a simplified Gaussian noise setting, comparing results based on single exposures and stacked exposures to results based on a series of single-epoch catalog summaries. Computing the detection probability based on catalog data amounts to generalized cross-matching: it is the product of a factor accounting for matching of the estimated fluxes of candidate sources, and a factor accounting for matching of their estimated directions. We find that probabilistic fusion of multi-epoch catalog information can detect sources with only modest sacrifice in sensitivity and selectivity compared to stacking.

Read this paper on arXiv…

T. Budavari, A. Szalay and T. Loredo
Fri, 11 Nov 16
10/40

Comments: 11 pages, 11 figures