SPIRE point source photometry: within the Herschel interactive processing environment (HIPE)
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The different algorithms appropriate for point source photometry on data from the SPIRE instrument on-board the Herschel Space Observatory, within the Herschel Interactive Processing Environment (HIPE) are compared. Point source photometry of a large ensemble of standard calibration stars and dark sky observations is carried out using the 4 major methods within HIPE: SUSSEXtractor, DAOphot, the SPIRE Timeline Fitter and simple Aperture Photometry. Colour corrections and effective beam areas as a function of the assumed source spectral index are also included to produce a large number of photometric measurements per individual target, in each of the 3 SPIRE bands (250, 350, 500μm), to examine both the accuracy and repeatability of each of the 4 algorithms. It is concluded that for flux densities down to the level of 30mJy that the SPIRE Timeline Fitter is the method of choice. However, at least in the 250 and 350μm bands, all 4 methods provide photometric repeatability better than a few percent down to at approximately 100mJy. The DAOphot method appears in many cases to have a systematic offset of ∼8 % in all SPIRE bands which may be indicative of a sub-optimal aperture correction. In general, aperture photometry is the least reliable method, i.e. largest scatter between observations, especially in the longest wavelength band. At the faintest fluxes, <30mJy, SUSSEXtractor or DAOphot provide a better alternative to the Timeline Fitter.
KeywordsHerschel SPIRE Photometry Calibration
The authors would like to thank the referee for providing valuable comments that improved the results of this paper. SPIRE has been developed by a consortium of institutes led by Cardiff Univ. (UK) and including: Univ. Lethbridge (Canada); NAOC (China); CEA, LAM (France); IFSI, Univ. Padua (Italy); IAC (Spain); Stockholm Observatory (Sweden); Imperial College London, RAL, UCL-MSSL, UKATC, Univ. Sussex (UK); and Caltech, JPL, NHSC, Univ. Colorado (USA). This development has been supported by national funding agencies: CSA (Canada); NAOC (China); CEA, CNES, CNRS (France); ASI (Italy);MCINN (Spain); SNSB (Sweden); STFC, UKSA (UK); and NASA (USA). HIPE is a joint development by the Herschel Science Ground Segment Consortium, consisting of ESA, the NASA Herschel Science Center, and the HIFI, PACS and SPIRE consortia.
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