University of Oulu

Haigh, C., Chamba, N., Venhola, A., Peletier, R., Doorenbos, L., Watkins, M., & Wilkinson, M. H. F. (2021). Optimising and comparing source-extraction tools using objective segmentation quality criteria. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 645, A107.

Optimising and comparing source-extraction tools using objective segmentation quality criteria

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Author: Haigh, Caroline1; Chamba, Nushkia2,3,4; Venhola, Aku5,6;
Organizations: 1Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, University of Groningen, PO Box 407, 9700 AK Groningen, The Netherlands
2Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Calle Vía Láctea, s/n, 38205 San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
3Departamento de Astrofísica, Universidad de La Laguna, 38205 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
4Department of Astronomy and Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmoparticle Physics, Stockholm University, AlbaNova University Centre, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
5Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
6Space Physics and Astronomy Research Unit, University of Oulu, Pentti Kaiteran katu 1, 90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 16.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: EDP Sciences, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-09-02


Context.: With the growth of the scale, depth, and resolution of astronomical imaging surveys, there is increased need for highly accurate automated detection and extraction of astronomical sources from images. This also means there is a need for objective quality criteria, and automated methods to optimise parameter settings for these software tools.

Aims: We present a comparison of several tools developed to perform this task: namely SExtractor, ProFound, NoiseChisel, and MTObjects. In particular, we focus on evaluating performance in situations that present challenges for detection. For example, faint and diffuse galaxies; extended structures, such as streams; and objects close to bright sources. Furthermore, we develop an automated method to optimise the parameters for the above tools.

Methods: We present four different objective segmentation quality measures, based on precision, recall, and a new measure for the correctly identified area of sources. Bayesian optimisation is used to find optimal parameter settings for each of the four tools when applied to simulated data, for which a ground truth is known. After training, the tools are tested on similar simulated data in order to provide a performance baseline. We then qualitatively assess tool performance on real astronomical images from two different surveys.

Results: We determine that when area is disregarded, all four tools are capable of broadly similar levels of detection completeness, while only NoiseChisel and MTObjects are capable of locating the faint outskirts of objects. MTObjects achieves the highest scores on all tests for all four quality measures, whilst SExtractor obtains the highest speeds. No tool has sufficient speed and accuracy to be well suited to large-scale automated segmentation in its current form.

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Series: Astronomy and astrophysics
ISSN: 0004-6361
ISSN-E: 1432-0746
ISSN-L: 0004-6361
Volume: 645
Article number: A107
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201936561
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 115 Astronomy and space science
Funding: We acknowledge financial support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 721463 to the SUNDIAL ITN network. NC acknowledges support from the State Research Agency (AEI) of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER) under the grant with reference PID2019-105602GB-I00, and from IAC project P/300724, financed by the Ministry of Science and Innovation, through the State Budget and by the Canary Islands Department of Economy, Knowledge and Employment, through the Regional Budget of the Autonomous Community. AV acknowledges financial support from the Emil Aaltonen Foundation. The Dell R815 Opteron server was obtained through funding from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) under project number 612.001.110.
EU Grant Number: (721463) SUNDIAL - SUrvey Network for Deep Imaging Analysis and Learning
Dataset Reference: This research made use of Astropy, ( a community-developed core Python package for Astronomy (Astropy Collaboration 2013, 2018). This work was partly done using GNU Astronomy Utilities (Gnuastro, version 0.7.42-22d2. Gnuastro is a generic package for astronomical data manipulation and analysis which was initially created and developed for research funded by the Monbukagakusho (Japanese government) scholarship and European Research Council (ERC) advanced grant 339659-MUSICOS.
Copyright information: © ESO 2021.