This page details the quality error bit flags assigned during post processing. These flags appear as the ppErrBits attributes in the detection and source tables. The flags can be used to refine object samples extracted from the archive. Examples of this usage are given in the SQL cookbook.
The quality issues are listed in order of severity, such that a selection of sources can be easily filtered according to the level of quality the user desires. These quality issues are divided amongst the four bytes such that the least significant byte represents information about the source that is most probably harmless (such as it is a deblended source), the most significant byte contains bits that highlight some kind of severe warning about the quality of the source, and the two remaining bytes in the middle contain various warnings that could just possibly imply the source is spurious.
For example, to select only those sources with absolutely no quality issues
the user can filter on
At the time of DR2 only quality flags that could be generated, relatively easily, from pre-existing information in the database were implemented. The agreed list of five different quality issues implemented for DR2 are listed below:
Note on the UDS: For DR2 the UDS sources are unchanged from DR1, due to no observations of this field during the 06A semester, and so do not have any ppErrBits flags. The UDS sources already have the default SExtractor bit flags in the errBits attribute (see the glossary entry for this attribute for more details). From DR3 the UDS has a cross-talk flag. The boundary flag will be calculated only if deemed worthwhile and a worthy algorithm is deduced. The remaining bit flags described below will only be included if they are already contained within the SExtractor bit flag attribute, errBits.
This is determined from the
These sources have at least one bad pixel in the default aperture, so contain missing information. The total number of bad pixels in the default aperture is supplied in the
The flag that marks if an object is within a dither step of the edge is not ideal and the reason is that the flat-field goes awry near the edges of detectors 1 and 2. There is also an edge region on detector 2 near 2048, 220 where a bite is taken out, where the flat-field is bad (though is better at longer wavelengths). This flag covers a 5" buffer around all of detectors 1 and 2 i.e. flag if the object is within dither step + 5" of the edge. In addition, any object whose coordinates are within 300 (0.4") pixels of coordinate 2270 220 (with suitable modification for microstepped images) are flagged, this is not applied to deeps because it's less of a problem and harder to define.
Source image contains at least one pixel that is close to being saturated,
defined as having a count (pixel height + sky level) > 40,000 ADU for
catalogues from nightly stacks. For deep multi-night stacks, the flag has only
been applied since DR8 and is set to a count >
This flag is applied to GPS detections from DR7 onwards that come from
multiframes with a poor photometric calibration due to heavy and highly variable
extinction in Galactic centre fields. A detector level criterion is applied to
all frames in that multiframe:
Cross-talk flagging was applied to the DR2 release (LAS, GCS, DXS) but did not affect the seaming. The GPS cannot ever be cross-talk flagged with the current algorithm parameters as its fields are just simply too crowded.
Source may possibly be a cross-talk artefact, or at least be contaminated by it. All sources within a pre-defined radius (for practical purposes, a box) of a suspected cross-talk artefact are flagged.
The cross-talk artefacts are illustrated and described in this CASU document. There are artefacts either side of a bright source, in one dimension, all of the way to the detector quadrant boundary (at most 7 orders, though with dithering you can produce 8+ in a stacked image product). The orientation of the line of artefacts rotates between each detector quadrant in the way illustrated in the CASU document.
The flagging was implemented by assuming that all point sources brighter than 14th magnitude in the J-band of the 2MASS catalogue will produce cross-talk in WFCAM detector fields. The size of the artefact was empirically calculated as a function of the magnitude of the cross-talk producing source, and all sources lying within these radii are flagged for artefacts up to the highest order (i.e. to the edge of a detector or quadrant boundary). The possibility of cross-talk artefacts appearing in two dimensions for stars that lie within dither offsets of a quadrant boundary in stacked images is also considered.
Source lies within a jitter + microstep offset of the stacked frame boundary with an additional safety margin of twice the default aperture radius to include all cases where the source image is incomplete. This is an important warning because all of these sources should certainly contain missing information - i.e. there may be partial sources and/or the source may not be present in all component images of the stack.
For deep stacks we also consider any positional offsets in creating the final deep stack image from intermediate stacks.
Bright star halos generate many spurious sources.
Spurious sources occur in lines along diffraction spikes.
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