Volume 609, January 2018
|Number of page(s)||15|
|Section||Numerical methods and codes|
|Published online||23 January 2018|
STATCONT: A statistical continuum level determination method for line-rich sources
1 I. Physikalisches Institut, Universität zu Köln, Zülpicher Str. 77, 50937 Köln, Germany
2 National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 1003 Lopezville Road, Socorro, NM 87801, USA
3 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
4 INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
5 Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Giessenbachstrasse 1, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
Received: 12 January 2017
Accepted: 4 October 2017
STATCONT is a python-based tool designed to determine the continuum emission level in spectral data, in particular for sources with a line-rich spectrum. The tool inspects the intensity distribution of a given spectrum and automatically determines the continuum level by using different statistical approaches. The different methods included in STATCONT are tested against synthetic data. We conclude that the sigma-clipping algorithm provides the most accurate continuum level determination, together with information on the uncertainty in its determination. This uncertainty can be used to correct the final continuum emission level, resulting in the here called ‘corrected sigma-clipping method’ or c-SCM. The c-SCM has been tested against more than 750 different synthetic spectra reproducing typical conditions found towards astronomical sources. The continuum level is determined with a discrepancy of less than 1% in 50% of the cases, and less than 5% in 90% of the cases, provided at least 10% of the channels are line free. The main products of STATCONT are the continuum emission level, together with a conservative value of its uncertainty, and datacubes containing only spectral line emission, i.e., continuum-subtracted datacubes. STATCONT also includes the option to estimate the spectral index, when different files covering different frequency ranges are provided.
Key words: methods: data analysis / techniques: image processing / techniques: spectroscopic / radio continuum: general / methods: statistical / radio lines: general
© ESO, 2018
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