The Physics of the Accelerating Universe Survey: narrow-band image photometry

S. Serrano, E. Gaztañaga, F. J. Castander, M. Eriksen, R. Casas, D. Navarro-Gironés, A. Alarcon, A. Bauer, L. Cabayol, J. Carretero, E. Fernandez, C. Neissner, P. Renard, P. Tallada-Crespí, N. Tonello, I. Sevilla-Noarbe, M. Crocce, J. García-Bellido, H. Hildebrandt, H. HoekstraB. Joachimi, R. Miquel, C. Padilla, E. Sánchez, J. De Vicente

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PAUCam is an innovative optical narrow-band imager mounted at the William Herschel Telescope built for the Physics of the Accelerating Universe Survey (PAUS). Its set of 40 filters results in images that are complex to calibrate, with specific instrumental signatures that cannot be processed with traditional data reduction techniques. In this paper, we present two pipelines developed by the PAUS data management team with the objective of producing science-ready catalogues from the uncalibrated raw images. The Nightly pipeline takes care of entire image processing, with bespoke algorithms for photometric calibration and scatter-light correction. The Multi-Epoch and Multi-Band Analysis pipeline performs forced photometry over a reference catalogue to optimize the photometric redshift (photo-z) performance. We verify against spectroscopic observations that the current approach delivers an inter-band photometric calibration of 0.8 per cent across the 40 narrow-band set. The large volume of data produced every night and the rapid survey strategy feedback constraints require operating both pipelines in the Port d'Informació Cientifica data centre with intense parallelization. While alternative algorithms for further improvements in photo-z performance are under investigation, the image calibration and photometry presented in this work already enable state-of-the-art photo-z down to iAB = 23.0.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3287-3317
Number of pages31
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Early online date11 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023


  • cosmology: observations
  • instrumentation: detectors
  • large-scale structure of Universe
  • methods: data analysis
  • techniques: image processing
  • techniques: photometric

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