DPS/WFI Survey Release (#25)

7 December 2004

Technical Summary

Survey ..................... DPS
Telescope .................. ESO/MPG 2.2m
Instrument ................. WFI
Program IDs ................ 169.A-0725; 67.A-0244(A); 164.O-0561
Origin ..................... ESO/EIS
Number of regions .......... 3
Region ..................... DEEP1; DEEP2; DEEP3
Number of Fields ........... 11
Passbands .................. U (2); B; V; R; I (2)
Number of Filters .......... 7
EIS Release Number ......... 25
Version .................... 0.9
Release Date ............... December 2004
Release prepared by ........ EIS team, L. F. Olsen

Product Type ............... Catalogs from Stacked Images
Number of catalogs ......... 40
Data Volume ................ 340 Mb

Origin ..................... ESO/EIS
Number of regions........... 3
Region ..................... DEEP1; DEEP2; DEEP3
Number of Fields ........... 11
Passbands .................. U (2); B; V; R; I (2)
EIS Release Number.......... 23
Version..................... 0.9
Release Date................ 10 November 2004

Product Type ............... Stacked Images
Number of Stacked Images ... 40


Based on ideas submitted by the ESO community and evaluated by ESO's Survey Working Group (SWG), the DPS survey, administered by the ESO Imaging Survey (EIS) and Public Survey Group (PSG) teams, comprises three optical and infrared strategies. The optical part consists of a deep survey covering three regions of 1 square degree on the sky, in U-, B-, V-, R- and I-passbands, using the wide-field imager (WFI) mounted on the ESO/MPG 2.2m telescope at La Silla. Each of the three DEEP regions -- 1, 2, 3 -- is covered by four WFI pointings (in five passbands) -- a, b, c, d -- per region. The regions were selected both to enable observations year-round and because they overlapped with regions of other scientific interest. For instance, DEEP1 was chosen to complement the deep ATESP radio survey carried out with the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) covering the region surveyed by the ESO Slice Project, while DEEP2 included the CDF-S field. Finally, DEEP3, was chosen in the northern galactic hemisphere, thus providing an almost year-round coverage (see the original proposals for more details). The location and the characteristics of the surveyed regions as well as the planned limiting magnitudes in each passband can be found in the DPS strategy page. One should be aware that in an attempt to improve the performance of the survey, new U and I filters were purchased and used during the course of the observations (see below).

The data contributing to the present release were obtained as part of the ESO Large Programme: 164.O-0561, carried out in visitor mode, and its service mode continuation (30 hours) 169.A-0725 (Principal Investigator: J. Krautter, as chair of the SWG), complemented by V- and R-band observations from the following ESO programme (Principal Investigator: P. Schneider): 67.A-0244, covering the DEEP-1 region.

The present release consists of an initial version of science-grade, single-passband (SPB) object catalogs extracted from ``final'' stacked images produced for 11 DPS fields ( EIS release number 23). The catalogs were extracted using the SExtractor program (Bertin & Arnouts 1996), graded and the results of preliminary statistical analysis compared to those obtained by other authors, in order to characterize and validate them. These results are presented, whenever possible, in the product log associated with each catalog. These logs are accessible from the release WEB page.

The present release, together with release #24, should be considered beta-releases of object catalogs. Fine-tuning of input parameters, improvement of procedures and an assessment of the quantities being reported in the catalog may prove necessary, and may depend on the specific application. Feedback from users on these as well as other topics would be extremely helpful an dmay justify revisions.

For more information about the terminology and conventions used in this document refer to the WEB README pages.

Contents of this Release

This is the third official release of reduced data (not including revisions) for the DPS survey, and follows earlier releases of night products (# 20) and final stacked images (#23).

The present release consists of 40 science grade (S/N > 5), extinction corrected catalogs extracted using SExtractor from fully calibrated ESO/MPG 2.2m WFI stacked images in U-, B-, V-, R- and I- passbands for the 11 fields released so far. Details about the images can be found in release number 23.

The catalogs being released were extracted from images similar but not identical to those released in release number 23. The images were re-created because, as explained in the COMMENTS of that release, the parameter for the cosmic ray rejection was inadequate, leading to a very noisy weight map. However, as also explained there, the impact on the catalogs is negligible.

Retrieving EIS Products


Official EIS products can be retrieved via two alternate routes, both originating at the EIS home page. These procedures are described elsewhere (see Retrieving EIS Products). It is worth reiterating that to request data users have to be registered with the ESO Science Archive.

In the case of the present release the "data release information section" is followed by a section detailing the "contents" of the release, listing:

  1. Table entry number (not to be confused with the "Product Identification number" which is reported in the main HEADER of the FITS format catalog);

  2. EIS standard field/region name

  3. Passband;

  4. ESO's filter number;

  5. Right Ascension (RA) in J2000.0;

  6. Declination (Dec) in J2000.0;

  7. Total integration time (in seconds) of the image from which the catalog was extracted;

  8. Total number of objects in the catalog being released, including those flagged;

  9. Total area (in square degrees) within which objects were extracted;

  10. The smallest value of S/N for an object to be included in the catalog. The S/N is calculated as the inverse of the SExtractor error for the chosen magnitude type (in this particular case MAG_AUTO);

  11. Grade (A to D, from good to bad) assigned to the catalog, from the visual inspection of the product by the EIS team;

  12. Total volume (in Megabytes) of the selected product;

  13. Hyperlink to the product log;

  14. Interactive check-box which enables the individual product to be selected/de-selected before finally submitting the selection to the ESO Science Archive Facility using "Request Marked Products" at the foot of the page.

Note: All data products are subject to revision and update once released. A report of the changes, if there are any, may be found in the ``COMMENTS'' field next to the particular release (in the release WEB page) and/or in the READMEs of the revised release.

Product Logs

For each survey product the EIS system prepares a ``product'' log from which the process log and the configuration file used can be accessed and inspected (not yet fully implemented). Currently, the product log associated to a science-grade, SPB catalog comprise four distinct sections represented in the rendering of the HTML. All sections have a ``Product Identification'' sub-section which, among other things, identifies the user that created the product, the type and main attributes like passband and exposure time. This sub-section is reproduced so as to enable a proper identification of the information if these pages are printed separately (not currently possible). The sections in the product log are:

  1. Science Grade Summary - in addition to the Product Identification, this section provides an overall summary about the primary catalog (e.g. number of extracted, saturated objects), the science grade catalog; the structure and contents of the FITS catalog, and intrument and filter properties, including the filter transmission function and the final convolved response function of the entire optical system, including telescope, detector and filter.

  2. Primary Attributes - estimates of the completeness, random magnitude errors, a variety of characteristic (``limiting'') magnitudes associated to the catalog, derived based on the errors attributed to them by SExtractor, number and projected distribution of spurious objects as a function of magnitude based on ``negative'' images assuming a symmetric distribution of the noise. Also shown is the stellarity index versus magnitude used for the star/galaxy classification.

  3. Science Grade Attributes - provides information about the attributes of the final science-grade catalogs being released. These include: 1) the parameters used in pruning the catalog; 2) final number of objects, galaxies and stars; 3) smooth density field; 4) the projected point-distribution, indicating objects with different flags set by the system (trimmed, masked); 5) the completeness function of the catalog derived from simulated data created by artificially fading the image but keeping the noise constant

  4. Verification - comparison of the number counts of stars derived from the data with model predictions of the population synthesis model of Girardi et al. (2004) and number counts of galaxies with recent results from other authors.

Even though the product logs are still not in their final form, the logs available in the present release serve to illustrate the type of information the system is able to provide to survey users and is a vital complement to the catalog itself.


In the upper right corner of the data release WEB page for catalogs one finds a button (properties) which link to plots showing the distribution of some of the quantities that characterize the catalogs (e.g. the grade attributed to the catalogs; 80% completeness magnitude in the AB system, number of objects, galaxies and stars and number density of objects in the science grade catalog)

Since the infrastructure is still under development, currently plots are being produced without adequate description. It is foreseen that these plots will be embedded into HTML files providing captions and statistics.

Comments Specific to this Release

The catalogs being released are in the FITS format, based on the ``Leiden Data Center'' (LDAC) convention originally adopted by the DENIS project and later expanded in the course of the EIS project. It currently consists of a FITS header and the following tables: FIELDS, OBJECTS, MASK and FILTER.

Currently, the FIELDS table consists of 109 columns. These include: 1) basic information set by the LDAC library; 2) keywords taken from the FITS header of the image from which the catalog was extracted; 3) the main SExtractor configuration parameters used; and 4) information computed by the EIS Data Reduction system. The latter includes, for instance:

  1. the diameter of the 10 apertures used, ranging from 1 to 5 arcsec in steps of 0.5 arcsec and a large aperture of 10 arcsec;

  2. the WCS coordinates of the corners of the original image and of the trimmed area;

  3. the amplitude of the extinction correction. This is currently being computed as the average of the value of the extinction in cells of 3 arcmin, distributed over the area of interest. In the future this correction will be computed and applied object by object, with the a new column containing the correction added to the OBJECTS table;

  4. the value added to the original magnitude of the extracted objects in the Vega system to produce the reported magnitudes in the catalog in the AB system;

  5. an estimate for the fudge factor used to multiply the errors reported by SExtractor to correct for the correlated noise of the warped image;

  6. total and trimmed area.

Some of the information contained in the FIELDS table is also available in the ``Product Log''. In the future, embedding the product log into the FITS format of the catalog should be considered to avoid duplication of the information and facilitate distribution.

The OBJECTS table reports the parameters characterizing the extracted objects, as computed by SExtractor. Currently, there are 69 columns, some of which represented by vectors (e.g. aperture magnitudes). The choice of apertures and the flags defined are the result of suggestions made by users of EIS data products and they may evolve in time. In addition to the SExtractor flag, the values of which are described in the proper manual, 14 other flags have been defined to facilitate the filtering of the catalogs. To the this end the following flags have been added:

  1. FLAG_SEX1 - FLAG_SEX128 - 8 flags individually representing the various SExtractor flags

  2. FLAG_SAT - 1 if saturated object. The saturation level is determined from the FWHM and peak flux of the bright objects. The distribution of the FWHM is determined and sigma-clipped to exclude bright galaxies from the sample. Among the remaining objects those with FWHM deviating more than 3 sigma are taken to be the saturated objects. The saturation level is set to the minimum peak value among these objects.

  3. FLAG_TRIM - 1 if inside trimmed area

  4. FLAG_MASK - 1 if inside masked area


  6. FLAG_STATE - 1 if any of the above flags are set

  7. FLAG_STAR - 1 if star, 0 if galaxy

Feedback from users regarding the parameters is welcome.

The MASK table gives the number and coordinates of the vertices of both automatically created masks as well as those drawn by hand using a SKYCAT plug-in. Saturated objects are always masked. In addition, the user has the option of also masking objects brighter than a user-specified magnitude. The size of the mask scales with the major-axis of the object, as computed by SExtractor. The scaling factor is specified by the user. The adopted shape of the mask is a square with one of the diagonals oriented north-south in an attempt to mask the diffraction spikes. The parameters used in the mask definition are reported in the product log.

The FILTER table gives the filter transmission curve and the total convolved optical system response function. In the future, it will also include some of the basic characteristics associated with the filter such as the ESO identification number, effective wavelength, and FWHM of the filter.

Comparison to Previous Release(s)

This is the first release of single passband catalogs for these fields and therefore no comparison data are available.

Data Reduction

This release represents a first set of catalogs extracted from WFI images and created systematically using the EIS Data Reduction/Survey System infrastructure in a fully un-supervised manner. The input images are final stacked images produced from the nightly reduced images. These images were astrometrically and photometrically calibrated as described in release number 23.

Catalogs were extracted using the SExtractor program (version 2.3.2) and a common configuration file, with the option of using the weight-map associated to each image. Some of the critical SExtractor configuration parameters are reproduced in the FIELDS table of the catalog itself. For each object extracted, 69 parameters are given describing the main geometric and photometric properties of the objects. The parameters were chosen as a compromise between the total number of parameters and the most frequently requested parameters from survey product users.

The first catalog to be extracted is a very low S/N catalog, which contains a large number of spurious objects. Starting from this catalog, a final science-grade catalog is produced by:

  1. pruning objects with S/N < 5 (as computed by MAG_AUTO error);

  2. splitting the SExtractor Flags into its 8 components;

  3. setting the FLAG_MASK to 1 for objects within masks;

  4. setting the FLAG_TRIM to 1 for objects outside a border defined by where the weight map on average drops below a certain level, normally taken to be 80% of its peak value;

  5. determining the saturation level and setting the FLAG_SAT to 1 for saturated objects;

  6. setting the FLAG_STATE to 1 for objects with either of the above mentioned flags set;

  7. setting the EISFLAG to the sum of FLAG_TRIM and FLAG_MASK;

  8. setting the FLAG_STAR to 0 (galaxy) or 1 (star) depending on the classification of the object as star/galaxy using the stellarity index criteria;

  9. converting magnitudes to the AB system according to the response function of the optical system;

  10. correcting magnitudes for galactic extinction. Note that at present this correction is applied to the magnitudes of all objects, including stars.

Note that except for objects with S/N less than that required, no object is removed from the catalog. If necessary, these objects can be pruned by the user according to the flags described above. In addition, the default magnitude system adopted for the objects can be changed using the information available in the FIELDS table.


The accuracy of the astrometric calibration relies on the astrometric calibration of the reduced images and the reference catalog used. As described in previous releases, it is typically better than 250 mas.


The reduced images were calibrated to the Vega magnitude system based on observations of Landolt (1992) standard stars as described in release number 20. Based on these photometric calibrations the photometric zeropoints of the stacked images were derived, as described in the release number 23, where more details concerning the accuracy of the photometric calibration can be found.

General Features

  1. The production of catalogs was done completely un-supervised. For the DPS fields considered the data rate was approximately 0.1 Mpix/sec for all fields. In other words, it took about 12 minutes per WFI image to produce not only a science-grade catalog but the extensive associated XML product log. Verification and grading of catalogs takes on average some 5 minutes per WFI image. While this could be a very time-consuming procedure for catalogs extracted from night products, this is not the case for stacks.

  2. The inspection of the projected distribution of objects, strongly suggests that the automatic masking of satellite tracks has worked remarkably well as no prominent linear features, a signature of this type of problem, are seen on the inspected catalogs.

  3. One of the main criteria to assess the quality of a catalog is to minimize the number of false positives. The parameters of extraction adopted in the production of the catalogs being released, in general, work well. However, there certain unavoidable situations, among which: 1) the presence of ghost images near bright stars. Their location and size vary with position and magnitude making it difficult to deal with in an automatic way. Their effect can be seen as far as 5 arcmin from the center of the star (e.g. DEEP3c at the top and at the bottom of the image); 2) the presence of bright galaxies since the algorithm for automatic masking does not work well in this case; 3) residual fringing on the image; 4) the presence of stray light, in particular, associated with bright objects just outside the observed field.

  4. Another sensitive parameter is that regulating the de-blending. Experience shows that the effects of de-blending depend on the type of field being considered and vary across the image. Some tests were carried out but it may require further analysis.

  5. A number of tests have been made to find an adequate compromise for the scaling factor used in the calculation of the size of the automatic masks. The size of the mask depends on the magnitude and passband, and will require further investigation. While the masking works, in general, well, it is clear that for precision work, such as lensing studies, masking by-hand is unavoidable with the present technology.

  6. The criteria adopted in the procedure used to define the ``trimmed'' region sometimes overshoots because of the nature of the weight map at the corners and because in some cases the image is slightly tilted. This has as a consequence that large number of spurious objects at the corners of the image are not flagged appropriately.

  7. Occasionally, the masking of saturated stars fails. These are likely to be stars just barely saturated. The reason for that is still being investigated. This is especially problematic in the U-band.

  8. Catalogs extracted from stacked images created with different settings of the cosmic ray rejection algorithm were compared and as earlier claimed it was confirmed that it has little effect on the properties of the derived catalogs

Data Quality Assessment


Before being released the catalogs overlayed on the images were examined by eye and graded by the EIS team, with the grade range being from A (best) to D (worst). The grade is meant as a subjective indication of the quality of the catalog. Additional information about the validity of the catalog can e found in the verification section of the associated product log.

Out of the 40 catalogs being released, 8 were graded A, 23 B, 7 C, and 2 D. In contrast to the images, two catalogs graded D are also being released in order to illustrate the impact of inadequate de-fringing. It is important to note that the catalogs graded D were extracted from grade C images. The table below presents all cases where comments were made. The table, ordered by increasing grade, lists: in column (1) entry number; in column (2) the region name; in column (3) the EIS field name; in column (4) the passband; in column (5) the grade; and in column (6) a comment.

# Region EIS Field Name Passband Grade Comment
1 DEEP1 DEEP1a I#845 D Fringing leads to multiple spurious detections
2 DEEP2 DEEP2b I#845 D Fringing leads to multiple spurious detections
5 DEEP2 DEEP2a R#844 C Large number of spurious objects caused by very bright star at the lower left edge of the image. Missing masks around a few saturated stars
6 DEEP2 DEEP2c I#845 C Reflections from bright stars cause spurious objects in various areas of the image. Low level fringing adds also additional noise in the catalog
7 DEEP2 DEEP2d R#844 C Numerous cosmic rays misidentified as real objects. Spurious caused by reflection ring of bright star in the lower left quadrant.
8 DEEP3 DEEP3b I#845 C Multiple spurious detections at the lower left quadrant due to fringing
9 DEEP3 DEEP3c R#844 C Missing masks for a few saturated stars. Multiple spurious objects caused by the reflection rings of the bright stars at the top and bottom right of the image
10 DEEP3 DEEP3c I#845 C Spurious objects caused by fringing at the lower left quadrant of the image. Multiple spurious objects caused by the reflection rings of bright stars at the top and bottom right of the image.
11 DEEP3 DEEP3d I#879 C Spurious objects caused by multiples reflection rings/stray light across the image.
12 DEEP1 DEEP1a U#877 B Spurious objects around bright stars
13 DEEP1 DEEP1a U#841 B Few spurious objects around bright stars
14 DEEP1 DEEP1a B#842 B Mask missing for a few saturated stars
15 DEEP1 DEEP1b U#877 B Masks missing around saturated stars. Spurious objects around bright stars.
16 DEEP1 DEEP1b I#845 B Residual fringing increases the number of spurious
17 DEEP1 DEEP1c V#843 B Masks missing around a few saturated stars
18 DEEP1 DEEP1c R#844 B Masks missing around a few saturated stars
19 DEEP2 DEEP2b U#877 B Masks missing around all saturated stars
20 DEEP2 DEEP2b B#842 B Spurious objects caused by reflections of bright star at center top of the image. Missing masks for several saturated stars
21 DEEP2 DEEP2b V#843 B Spurious objects caused by reflections of bright stars at the top center and lower right corner of the image.
22 DEEP2 DEEP2c U#877 B Missing masks for a few saturated stars
23 DEEP2 DEEP2c U#841 B Missing masks around a few saturated stars
24 DEEP3 DEEP3a U#877 B Spurious objects around bright stars. Spurious objects caused by stray light at the top left corner.
25 DEEP3 DEEP3a U#841 B Spurious objects around bright stars. Spurious objects caused by stray light at the top left corner.
26 DEEP3 DEEP3a B#842 B Masks missing for a few saturated stars. Spurious objects caused by stray light at the top left corner.
27 DEEP3 DEEP3a V#843 B Masks missing for a few saturated stars. Spurious objects caused by stray light at the top left corner
28 DEEP3 DEEP3a R#844 B Masks missing for a few saturated stars. Spurious objects caused by stray light at the top and bottom left corners.
29 DEEP3 DEEP3b U#877 B Spurious objects around bright stars
30 DEEP3 DEEP3b B#842 B Missing masks around a few saturated stars
31 DEEP3 DEEP3b V#843 B Masks missing around a few saturated stars
32 DEEP3 DEEP3b R#844 B Spurious objects caused by left-over cosmic rays at the inter-chip gaps
33 DEEP3 DEEP3c U#877 B Spurious objects around bright stars
34 DEEP3 DEEP3c V#843 B Multiple spurious objects caused by the reflection ring of the bright stars at the top and bottom right of the image
38 DEEP1 DEEP1b R#844 A Mask missing around 1 saturated star at the center-right of the image
39 DEEP2 DEEP2b R#844 A Few spurious at the lower right corner caused by bright star reflection at the edge of the image.

In general, there is a correlation between the grade of the catalogs and the grade of the images from which they were extracted. However, the catalogs grade can be lower than that of the image due to effects such as the detection of large number of spurious objects associated with the ghost images of brigth stars, stray light, and others. For instance, all the U-band catalogs were graded B. As in the case of the corresponding images, the I-band catalogs are typically C and D.

Photometric Calibration

The quality of the photometric calibration of the reduced and stacked images have been assessed in the EIS release number 20 and 23 , respectively, and will not be repeated here.

The magnitudes of the final catalog have been converted into the AB magnitude system and corrected for the galactic extinction using Schlegel et al. (1998).

Catalog Attributes

The attributes of the catalogs are summarized in distribution of grades, the 80% completeness limiting magnitude in the Vega system, the number of objects, galaxies and stars, and number density of objects. The color code adopted for the filters (passbands) here and elsewhere is as follows: B (blue); V (green); R (red), I (magenta). This color coding is consistent with that adopted in previous releases. The first panel shown in black is a combination of all filters.

Comparison with other authors

The reduced data (in the form of stacks) were also compared to results obtained using the GaBoDS pipeline (Schirmer et al. 2003) and Erben et al. (2004) developed by the Bonn group. Extensive and repeated comparisons were made between SExtractor-produced catalogs from the images generated by these two independent systems. Initial discrepancies, resulting from the different techniques used (e.g. cosmic ray removal, gain-harmonization) were resolved, leading at the end to results in excellent agreement.

Remarks on Individual Products

  1. DEEP1a (I) - the original image was graded C because of observed fringing in the final stack. This has led to a catalog with no scientific value because of the high number of spurious objects detected along the fringing pattern. This catalog is being released exclusively as an illustration.

  2. DEEP2b (I) - same as above

Next Release(s)

Originally, the following releases were scheduled:

Unfortunately, since the EIS project is scheduled to terminate on December 31, 2004 the EIS team will not be able to complete the work until then.


This release is the nineth of 2004, and number 25 since March 1998. It is the second release of science-grade catalogs extracted from stacked products created using the framework of the EIS Data Reduction/Survey System. Each catalog has an associated product log which provides complementary information about the product as well as the results of some simple analyzes carried out to characterize and validate the catalog. The production of the catalogs was done in a completely un-supervised way, with a throughput of about 0.1 Mpix/sec, a good match to the data rate of other parts of the pipeline. It is important to emphasize that as one goes down the chain of survey products, the more complex they become making it difficult to assign a quality for all possible applications. Fine-tuning of parameters may also prove necessary, and may depend on the specific application. This, however, requires several iterations which due to time constrains cannot be presently carried out. Feedback from users would be extremely helpful.


Arnouts, S. et al. , 2001, A&A, 179, 436

Bertin, E. & Arnouts, S., A&AS, 117, 393

Erben, T. et al. , 2004, in preparation

Girardi, L., et al. , 2004, A&A, submitted

Landolt, A. U., 1992 Astronomical Journal 104, 340

Schlegel, D., Finkeiner, D., & Davis, M., 1998, ApJ, 500, 525

Vandame, B. et al. , 2004, in preparation

Vandame, B., 2004, PhD thesis, in preparation

eis data account 2004-12-07