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funcs – general usage functions

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Tutorial for the MASCARA reduction pipeline

Working principle

Every mascara image has a lst-idx keyword in the header. Each day is divided by the LST exposure time of the image. The lst-index represents the exposure index within that day. Two images with identical lst-index will be exposed at the same Local Siderial Time. The lst-index is defined in The reduction pipeline processes the images in batches of 50. The starting and end point of each batch is given by the lst-idx keyword:

  • lst-idx mod 50 equals 0 => start of a batch
  • lst-idx mod 50 equals 49 => end of a batch

The batches are all treated the same way:

lst-idx, actions 0 1 to 48 49
  open image open image open image
get date and lst-idx from header get date and lst-idx get date and lst-idx
calculate altitude and azimuth coordinates calculate alt and az calculate alt and az
calculate the astrometric corrections for that batch    
calculate x and y positions calculate x and y postions calculate x and y positions
initialise the stacker add image to stacker add image to stacker
do photometry do photometry do photometry
save in dictionary update dictionary update dictionary
    bin images
    calculate astrometric corrections on the binned image
    calculate x and y positions
    do photometry on binned image
    save all dictionaries
The dictionaries contain for each star the following informations:
  • the stellar identifier, ASCC number from the Kharchenko 2009+ catalogue
  • the stellar coordinates (ra, dec)
  • the V and B magnitude
  • the stellar spectral type
  • the N points of the light curve
  • the stellar positions on the CCD for these N images
  • the JDmid date, defined as the Julian date at mid-exposure
  • the lst date

At the end of a batch of 50, the dictionary are split according to stellar identifier. This process takes place in parallel to the reduction described above.

Finally at the end of the night, all light curve pieces are combined together and saved into a .hdf5 file.

Starting the reduction of existing data


To start the reduction of existing data requires:

  • the directories are named after : ‘YYYYMMDD’ + site identifier + camera identifier. For instance, 20150202LPE, 20150202LPS ... for the night 2015-02-02, at the La Palma site for the cameras South and East.
  • the raw files are in a subdirectory called ‘raw’
  • calibration files are identified in their names : ‘calib_bias.fits’

Command lines

The python program mascprocess is recommended for reducing existing data. It is written to be launched directly from a command line. It can reduce simultaneously :

  • a set of nights for one camera
  • or the same set of nights for a sub-set of cameras
  • or a night for all five camera cameras.
These options are entered as keywords for mascprocess. The program accepts different keywords:
  • night, to specify the night(s) to reduce. If more than one night, separate each night with a + and no space;
  • camera, give in the initial of the camera you wish to reduce;
  • site, if more than one site available, to sort data by observing site.
Additional keywords are:
  • quiet, to avoid (most) of the screen prints
  • verbose, to get more of them
  • overwrite, to erase all existing directories (apart from raw). Default is False,

then the existing directories are renamed as ???_old

As result, the calling sequence is :
  • for one camera, four nights, with overwrite
>>> python /datadir/ --camera E --night 20150202+20150203+20150214+20150322 -o
  • for one night all camera:
>>> python /datadir/ --night 20150203
  • a mix of both:
>>> python /datadir/ --camera E+S --night 20150203+20150204 -q

Reduction functions

The reduction relies on two main functions both in the mascara.reduction module:
  • mascara.reduction.Reduction()
  • mascara.reduction.SaveItAll()

The former is in charge of the reduction itself, as described in the table above. Every 50 images (or when lstidx mod 50 == 0), Reduction saves the light curves of all the observed stars in a temporary .h5 file. The name of the file and its location are then communicated to the other function mascara.reduction.SaveItAll(). This function is in charge of all reading and writing to disk operations. Since those are the bottleneck of the mascara reduction procedure, the two functions are designed to be run simultaneously via parallel processing. SaveItAll reads in the temporary file, and extracts out of it the light curves of some stars which shall be used later on as diagnostic tool. Furthermore, at the end of the night, SaveItAll is responsible of combining all temporary files into one .hdf5 file.

Final file format

The .hdf5 files containing the raw light curves follow the same inside format. There are 3 groups inside each hdf5 file:
  • data
  • header
  • header_table

and one dataset called global. 8Global* contains all the informations which are common to all stars inside the file, such as the camera properties, and the station’s location. Accessing the content of an hdf5 file is pretty easy with python.

>>> import h5py
>>> myfile = h5py.File('fLC_20150719LPC.hdf5', 'r')
>>> print myfile.keys()
    [u'data', u'header', u'header_table', u'global']

The u’data’ means that the key is coded in unicode format. To access the content under the global key:

>>> print myfile['global'].attrs.keys()
    u'STATION', u'CAMERA', u'ALT0', u'AZ0', u'TH0', u'X0', u'Y0', u'AVERSION',
    u'APER1', u'NSTAPER', u'SKYRAD0', u'SKYRAD1']
>>> print myfile['global'].attrs.get('CAMERA')
>>> print myfile['global'].attrs.get('APER0')

The data group

The data group is sorted by ASCC stellar identifier number. As such there can be up to 25 000 unique keys to access the data group. Each entry hold the entire light curve of that star for the night.

To retrieve the light curve of one star:

>>> import h5py
>>> import numpy as np
>>> myf = h5py.File('fLC_20150719LPC.hdf5', 'r')
>>> mystar = '100007'
>>> mydata = np.copy(myf['data'][mystar])  ### Make a copy of the entry is optional

We have retrieve now a record array. This type of numpy array works like a dictionary, where each data is stored under a specific keyword. The keywords used for the light curve arrays are all identical. To list them:

>>> print mydata.dtype.names
    ('flag', 'flux0', 'eflux0', 'flux1', 'eflux1', 'sky', 'esky', 'peak',
    'x', 'y', 'alt', 'az', 'ccdtemp', 'exptime', 'jdmid', 'lst', 'lstidx', 'lstseq')
>>> print mydata['flux0'].mean()

But now we may want to know more abouth that star. This information is to be found in the header group

The header group

Likewise to the data group, the header information is stored in a record array. THe information is extracted here like in a normal fits header file. Let’s say we want to extract the header of our previous star

>>> hdr = myf['header'][mystar]
>>> print hdr.dtype.names
    ('jdstart', 'ra', 'dec', 'vmag', 'bmag', 'spectype', 'blend', 'blendvalue', 'nobs')
>>> print hdr['ra']
    array([ 3.30304445])
>>> print hdr['spectype']
    array(['AM'], dtype='|S9')