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An astronomical image processing software


About History Of Munipack


Munipack is a general astronomical image processing software focused on processing of any kind of observed image data. The processing is like a art of data processing and Munipack is a tool in hands of experineced astronomer.

Early Era

A processing of astronomical images is one from the most exciting parts of the observational astronomy. But the relevant processing of the tusand of images is also the most difficult task for scientists. Since 1998, I'm working on developing of a system for automarise the processing and on fully automated algorithms for that purpose. I started from the famous DAOPHOT II package by P. B. Stetson. The name Munipack is inspired by DAOPHOT, P.B. Stetson wroted DAOPHOT at Dominion Astrophysical Observatory therefore I use Munipack originated from my alma mater, Masaryk University in Brno. Note, that T.G. Masaryk was a first Czech(oslovak) democratic president. I thinks, that names like Hrophot are not suitable for the case.

The CCD photomtery is a art of data processing. Any algorithm (Munipack's component or another) can diminantly help of this processing but it must be used with naximum warranty. Are you a astronomical photometry guru?

Munipack project has been started by me in Masaryk University at 1996. A primary idea has been to prepare a batch processing software for huge amount of our CCD data. As the photometry core, the source codes of DAOPHOT II implemented by Midas, has been selected. Just star detection and the aperture photometry routines has been used, for reason, that ones did not required any user interaction, the key feature for non-iterative analysis.

The original code has been arranged to work as a separate tool (without Midas environment). Parameters and data files has been not altered (ones are identical to obsolete 0.4.2 version).

The core of the Munipack package - muniphot - is based on the world-wide known code DAOPHOT by the P. B. Stetson. Nevertheless, the munipack was rewritten from Fortran 77 language to Fortran 90 and its robust mean estimator was coded from the scratch. The methods for the mean were described in book:

Muniphot is less general the DAOPHOT. DAOPHOT uses aperture and PSF photometry, but muniphot only aperture photometry. The differences between both utilities will be on a crowded field greather then on a sparse. The photmetry with munipack of the stars in a globular cluster or supernovae on the background of a galaxy is probbably bad idea. This is work for DAOPHOT. The processing of a few hundred images of your favourite variable star in Ursa Major is typical use of the munipack.

Developing of additional utilities

Some utilities has been implemented to provide additional facility for extraction of light curves of variable stars from the images. The matching of star lists has provided a way to find an affine transformation between images and vice versa. The routines had enabled construction of light curves. Also basic image reduction (dark and flat corrections) has been added. The work has been published under both Unix (Linux and Solaris) and MS-DOS operating systems during 1997.

Under DOS

My friend Rudolf Novak wrote DOS/WIN port of the prehistorical version of Munipack named MUNIDOS. This package contains main components for photometry and additional routines for user friendly interface. Many people reports MUNIDOS as new DOS clone (like MSDOS, DRDOS or FreeDOS). On base it, we (I) omiting this name. Therefore, MUNIDOS still lives. It is maintainted by the Lukas Kral.

Robust Algorithms and Fortran 90

1998 and 2000 improvements included the creation of a robust flat-field routine from series of flat-fields (using mean and sigma normalization). Some important improvements in algorithms has been realized: The main part of code has been arranged for Fortran 90 compilers. The implementation has been changed to use of dynamical arrays, routines has been rewrote to use memory instead of disk-buffers and massive speed up has been preformed. Robust algorithms with non-Gaussian distributions replaced the original DAOPHOT's filtering and cutting methods (while the methods has shown the right way to determine results).

Long Bug-fixing

The 2000-late improvements included image collecting utilities which provides composition of images and deep-field imaging and precise photometry of combined images. The period has been characterized by a slow progress, bug-fixing and perfecting of the application.

Graphical interfaces

The new era of Munipack started on begin of 2009 when the plan for GUI, modernization and improvements has been started. As the part of the work, you can read this sentences.