Finding faint HI structure in and around galaxies: scraping the barrel

D. Punzo, J.M. van der Hulst, J.B.T.M. Roerdink
Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, Landleven 12, 9747 AD Groningen, The Netherlands
arXiv:1609.03782 [astro-ph.IM], (13 Sep 2016)


   title={Finding faint HI structure in and around galaxies: scraping the barrel},

   author={Punzo, D. and Hulst, J.M. van der and Roerdink, J.B.T.M.},






Soon to be operational HI survey instruments such as APERTIF and ASKAP will produce large datasets. These surveys will provide information about the HI in and around hundreds of galaxies with a typical signal-to-noise ratio of ~10 in the inner regions and ~1 in the outer regions. In addition, such surveys will make it possible to probe faint HI structures, typically located in the vicinity of galaxies, such as extra-planar-gas, tails and filaments. These structures are crucial for understanding galaxy evolution, particularly when they are studied in relation to the local environment. Our aim is to find optimized kernels for the discovery of faint and morphologically complex HI structures. Therefore, using HI data from a variety of galaxies, we explore state-of-the-art filtering algorithms. We show that the intensity-driven gradient filter, due to its adaptive characteristics, is the optimal choice. In fact, this filter requires only minimal tuning of the input parameters to enhance the signal-to-noise ratio of faint components. In addition, it does not degrade the resolution of the high signal-to-noise component of a source. The filtering process must be fast and be embedded in an interactive visualization tool in order to support fast inspection of a large number of sources. To achieve such interactive exploration, we implemented a multi-core CPU (OpenMP) and a GPU (OpenGL) version of this filter in a 3D visualization environment (SlicerAstro).
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