Volume 547, November 2012
|Number of page(s)||15|
|Published online||08 November 2012|
ASPECT: A spectra clustering tool for exploration of large spectral surveys⋆
Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, Sternwarte 5, 07778, Tautenburg, Germany
Received: 6 July 2012
Accepted: 13 September 2012
Context. Analysing the empirical output from large surveys is an important challenge in contemporary science. Difficulties arise, in particular, when the database is huge and the properties of the object types to be selected are poorly constrained a priori.
Aims. We present the novel, semi-automated clustering tool ASPECT for analysing voluminous archives of spectra.
Methods. The heart of the program is a neural network in the form of a Kohonen self-organizing map. The resulting map is designed as an icon map suitable for the inspection by eye. The visual analysis is supported by the option to blend in individual object properties such as redshift, apparent magnitude, or signal-to-noise ratio. In addition, the package provides several tools for the selection of special spectral types, e.g. local difference maps which reflect the deviations of all spectra from one given input spectrum (real or artificial).
Results. ASPECT is able to produce a two-dimensional topological map of a huge number of spectra. The software package enables the user to browse and navigate through a huge data pool and helps them to gain an insight into underlying relationships between the spectra and other physical properties and to get the big picture of the entire data set. We demonstrate the capability of ASPECT by clustering the entire data pool of ~6 × 105 spectra from the Data Release 4 of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). To illustrate the results regarding quality and completeness we track objects from existing catalogues of quasars and carbon stars, respectively, and connect the SDSS spectra with morphological information from the GalaxyZoo project.
Key words: methods: data analysis / surveys / white dwarfs / stars: carbon / quasars: general
Code is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (22.214.171.124) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/547/A115
© ESO, 2012
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