Renewal Strings for Cleaning Astronomical Databases
Amos Storkey, Nigel Hambly, Christopher Williams, Robert Mann
Large astronomical databases obtained from sky surveys such as the SuperCOSMOS Sky Surveys (SSS) invariably suffer from a small number of spurious records coming from artefactual effects of the telescope, satellites and junk objects in orbit around earth and physical defects on the photographic plate or CCD. Though relatively small in number these spurious records present a significant problem in many situations where they can become a large proportion of the records potentially of interest to a given astronomer. In this paper we focus on the four most common causes of unwanted records in the SSS: satellite or aeroplane tracks, scratches fibres and other linear phenomena introduced to the plate, circular halos around bright stars due to internal reflections within the telescope and diffraction spikes near to bright stars. Accurate and robust techniques are needed for locating and flagging such spurious objects. We have developed renewal strings, a probabilistic technique combining the Hough transform, renewal processes and hidden Markov models which have proven highly effective in this context. The methods are applied to the SSS data to develop a dataset of spurious object detections, along with confidence measures, which can allow this unwanted data to be removed from consideration. These methods are general and can be adapted to any future astronomical survey data.
Keywords: Renewal Strings, Sky Surveys, Hidden Markov Models, Hough Transform, Satellite Tracks
PS Link: http://www.anc.ed.ac.uk/~amos/publications/StorkeyEtAl2003RenewalStringsforCleaningAs
PDF Link: /papers/03/p559-storkey.pdf
AUTHOR = "Amos Storkey
and Nigel Hambly and Christopher Williams and Robert Mann",
TITLE = "Renewal Strings for Cleaning Astronomical Databases",
BOOKTITLE = "Proceedings of the Nineteenth Conference Annual Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI-03)",
PUBLISHER = "Morgan Kaufmann",
ADDRESS = "San Francisco, CA",
YEAR = "2003",
PAGES = "559--566"