SkyView Hardware Update

Last week SkyView was updated with new hardware. The SkyView interface should look the same but behind the scenes this update may add a bit more speed to queries but will mostly provide a more robust computing environment, more space for caching query results files and better sharing of processing over multiple hosts.

So far the transition has been smooth. We did discover a couple of obsolete links that may have caused some problems but these should now resolve to current URLs.




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IRAS image of Saturn

We have had a lot of interest in images centered on coordinates 13h 45m 18.2s, -08d 13m 07s recently.  SkyView images of this area in the sky using the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) survey are often added to the SkyView Image Gallery and we are asked about the unusual artifacts.


It turns out that this image is a sum of observation images taken by the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) at times when the planet Saturn was in its field of view.  The smearing affect is due to the timing of the different observations that make up the final image.

This artifact was removed in the subsequent IRIS 100: Improved Reprocessing of the IRAS Survey: 100.


There are more of the same image with nice color manipulations at our SkyView Image Gallery at…/index/2014-06-15_2.html (scroll down)

Further information: ISSA Explanatory Supplement – the table at the bottom of the page lists the coordinates of IRAS images affected by planets.

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Skyview V3.1.16: Effelsberg-Bonn HI Survey

We have just released a new version of SkyView which adds the Effelsberg-Bonn HI survey: measuring the HI column density for the entire sky north of -6 declination with unprecedented resolution and sensitivity.   Look for the EBHIS survey in the radio regime. This also includes the tweaks to the Lanczos resampler discussed in the previous article.  Many thanks to Dr Benjamin Winkel and the survey team for their encouragement in adding this survey to SkyView.

The data currently in SkyView represents only a tiny fraction of the full survey data available.  The original survey data measures a wide range of velocities and we hope to ultimately include the full three-dimensional dataset.

Please let us know if you have or know of other data sets that we could include in SkyView.

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Lanczos Normalization Error

The Lanczos sampler is a truncated version of the optimal sampling function, sinc(x). The
kernel of this sampler is given as

    f(x) = sinc(pi x) sinc(pi x/n)    |x| < n
       0                              |x| >= n

Here x is given in units of pixels and the sinc function is just sin(x)/x.  Take a look at Wikipedia for a sense of the function.

Let’s say we want to sample our function at 4.8 when we have measured values, f_n at the integer values of x. If we are using an order 3 Lanczos sampler then the value, m(x) we measure would be

  m(4.8) = f_2 f(-2.8) + f_3 f(-1.8) + f_4 f(-0.8) +
           f(5) f(0.2) + f(6) f(1.2) + f_7 f(2.2)

This is how we have used the Lanczos sampler since we introduced it into SkyView. A keen-eyed user, Benjamin Winkler, noted that his resampled images using the Lanczos sampler were slightly fainter than the originals on average. It turns out that the Lanczos sampler as given above is not quite normalized. If we integrate f(x) the total integral for n-3 is about 0.997, about 0.3% less than unity.

We have updated the Lanczos sampler to properly normalize the sampler. The correction gets smaller with increasing n.

n Integral
1 0.90283358
2 1.00878984
3 0.997055
4 1.00126
5 0.999353
6 1.00038
7 0.999762
8 1.00016

Since SkyView samples in two directions, the introduced error is actually the square of the value in the table.  The renormalized samplers will be installed in the next release of SkyView next week.   Fortunately the error of order 1% or less except for the first order Lanczos sampler.

If there are any users who would prefer to use the unnormalized samplers we have added the LanczosNorm setting, but this will only be available to SkyView-in-a-Jar users.

We apologize for this long-standing issue. We greatly appreciate any feedback or concerns you have with SkyView processing.

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Updated Fermi SkyView Surveys.

In the next few days we’ll be updating the Fermi survey datasets. The updates include data through week 379 of the mission (in October). This adds several years of data since we last updated Fermi early in 2012. Unlike the previous edition where the survey was given as count maps, the new data are rendered as intensity maps where we have divided each pixel by the exposure. These new surveys also are based upon the recently reprocessed Pass 8 Fermi archive data.

Many thanks to Dave Davis for providing the updated maps. We’re now planning on updating the Fermi data regularly — likely each quarter — using the Hera facility at the HEASARC. Click on the comparison all-sky images to see the substantial increase in the signal to noise of the Fermi data.

RGB image of Fermi bands 3,4,5: Old data

RGB image of Fermi bands 3,4,5: Old data

RGB Image of Fermi Bands 3,4,5: New Data

RGB Image of Fermi Bands 3,4,5: New Data

Update (11/17/2015): SkyView version 3.1.15 has been released with the new Fermi surveys.

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SkyView V3.1.14: VLA FIRST (1.4 GHz) survey update

FIRST image of 3C273

FIRST image of 3C273 generated in SkyView

SkyView version 3.1.14 has been released with a change that affects FIRST survey images.

It was brought to our attention that some FIRST images generated using SkyView differed from images generated via the FIRST web server. We investigated and found that the files we created to describe FIRST data contained some older FIRST file names. These older files were being retrieved to generate FIRST images instead of newer reprocessed data files. We have updated out FIRST data description files so that only the latest data files will be used to generate FIRST images in SkyView.

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SkyView V3.1.13: SkyView-in-a-Jar bug fixes.

We’ve just released new version of SkyView that fixes a couple of bugs associated with using SkyView-in-a-Jar. Users of the web pages should not see any changes.

There is a batch mode option in the jar which allows many requests to be run without restarting Java each time. In some cases batch mode requests after the first would fail. SkyView attempts to optimize the calculation of the resampling geometry when a user requests images from multiple surveys that have exactly the same geometry on the sky, (I.e. they are broken into tiles with the same sky coverage like the four IRAS or IRIS surveys). Unfortunately this ‘optimization’ was sometimes being applied to subsequent batch mode requests even though the requested positions were quite different. Thanks to Kelley Hess for bringing this to our attention. When we fixed this we also updated the parsing of quotes in the batch file to mimic the behavior of the command line more closely.

The other problem did not cause any errors in the output. If a user had set the SaveBySurvey flag to request that data from different surveys be saved in different cache directories, then in a request where there was both multiple surveys requested and a contour image, the cached data for the second and later images was being stored in the directory associated with the survey that contour image was taken from. E.g., if the user had specified

SaveBySurveys Survey=s1,s2,s3 Contour=c1 position=xxx

then the cached files for surveys s2 and s3 were stored in the directory for c1. This is unlikely to be a problem for most users, but it meant that we occasionally had junk in the cache that our SkyView web server maintains.

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SkyView release v3.1.12

We have released SkyView v3.1.12  with 2 enhancements!  This new version adds social network sharing options to the SkyView Image Gallery  and a helpful option to the Overlays section of the main SkyView Query form.

Facebook and Twitter Share buttons are now displayed with all images in the SkyView Image Gallery.  So if you have an account on either of these social networks you can share images that you or other users have created. If you are interested but have never added an image to the Gallery check out this post

The new feature in the Overlays section of the SkyView Query form is the option to draw a reticule indicating where the center of your SkyView image is located.

Below are screen shots from a SkyView Image Gallery page, an individual gallery image, and  the SkyView Query form showing the location of the new reticule overlay option.  Note that the gallery images also demonstrate the new overlay option.






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V3.1.10: WISE now uses All-WISE data

We’re getting ready to release the next version of SkyView. The only significant change is an update to the WISE datasets which will now point to the All-WISE data release. This provides significantly deeper coverage in some areas and bands but is structurally similar to the previous data sets. Since we’ll be building up the All-WISE data available in our caches, WISE retrievals may be a little slower on average for a while since the base images will more frequently need to be downloaded from the IRSA archive. To access the All-WISE data from the SkyView-in-a-Jar you will need to download the latest jar file.

We’ll be making this the default release shortly (within the day), but if you can’t want you can get the the new release as:

For more information on the All-WISE data see this summary at IRSA.

If you have any questions or concerns or suggestions for new surveys please let us know.

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SkyView v3.1.8 with GALEX DR7 released.

A new version of SkyView, v3.1.8, has been installed as the default version. The significant change from the user perspective is that the GALEX DR7 is included. New data is mostly in the NUV. To access these data through SkyView-in-a-Jar you will need to download a new copy of the jar file.

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