In the past week we’ve begun the process of adding the GALEX near and far UV data into SkyView. Assuming we don’t run into unexpected problems it should be available sometime next week. One issue that did come up is that GALEX images are circular not rectangular. Normally when we look for which image to sample at a given pixel we use the candiate source image that we would sample furthest from the edge of the image. That’s the Border image finder. For GALEX a more appropriate choice is to take image whose center is nearest the pixel. There’s a new Radius image finder for that. Since the exposure and characteristics of the observation don’t vary very much within the observed circle, a still better approach would be to find the image where the pixel is within some fiducial radius of the center, but which has the longest exposure. That way we get the best image over the largest field of view. That’s a combination of the Radius and Exposure image finders in the current release. By design it’s very easy to add in an image finder with exactly these characteristics and that’s what we’ll be doing.
You may wonder why this didn’t come up in the much older SkyView ROSAT PSPC surveys — they also have circular images. If we were to build images from the PSPC the same way we do from GALEX, by dynamically combining observations in response to a user request, that’s exactly what would have happened. However SkyView ran through all of the PSPC data and created a set of rectangular tiles that added the exposure from all observations that overlapped the tile. It’s these pre-coadded tiles that are used for the PSPC surveys. An advantage of this approach is that in regions where more than one observation was made, data from multiple tiles is added together. We’ll want to make that possible for GALEX data someday too.