Object detection in multi-epoch data


In astronomy multiple images are frequently obtained at the same position of the sky for follow-up co-addition as it helps one go deeper and look for fainter objects. With large scale panchromatic synoptic surveys becoming more common, image co-addition has become even more necessary as new observations start to get compared with co-added fiducial sky in real time. The standard co-addition techniques have included straight averages, variance weighted averages, medians etc. A more sophisticated nonlinear response chi-square method is also used when it is known that the data are background noise limited and the point spread function is homogenized in all channels. A more robust object detection technique capable of detecting faint sources, even those not seen at all epochs which will normally be smoothed out in traditional methods, is described. The analysis at each pixel level is based on a formula similar to Mahalanobis distance. The method does not depend on the point spread function.