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Paper: Pipeline Processing for VISTA
Volume: 434, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XIX
Page: 91
Authors: Lewis, J. R.; Irwin, M.; Bunclark, P.
Abstract: The VISTA telescope is a 4 metre instrument which has recently been commissioned at Paranal, Chile. Equipped with an infrared camera, 16 2Kx2K Raytheon detectors and a 1.7 square degree field of view, VISTA represents a huge leap in infrared survey capability in the southern hemisphere. Pipeline processing of IR data is far more technically challenging than for optical data. IR detectors are inherently more unstable, while the sky emission is over 100 times brighter than most objects of interest, and varies in a complex spatial and temporal manner. To compensate for this, exposure times are kept short, leading to high nightly data rates. VISTA is expected to generate an average of 250 GB of data per night over the next 5-10 years, which far exceeds the current total data rate of all 8m-class telescopes. In this presentation we discuss the pipelines that have been developed to deal with IR imaging data from VISTA and discuss the primary issues involved in an end-to-end system capable of: robustly removing instrument and night sky signatures; monitoring data quality and system integrity; providing astrometric and photometric calibration; and generating photon noise-limited images and science-ready astronomical catalogues.
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