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skygroup noao.nproto



skygroup -- Group a list containing RA and Dec into spatial sublists


A list with RA and Dec in the first two columns followed by user data is grouped into sublist based on spatial proximity. A separation parameter defines the grouping by looking for gaps in both RA and Dec that are bigger than the specified amount. The output sublists may or may not include the RA and Dec columns. A typical example of user data might be image names.


skygroup input output


Input tabular text file containing RA and Dec in the first two whitespace separated columns and user data in the remaining columns. The RA may be in hours or degrees while the Dec must be in degrees. The RA values must lie in the range 0h to 24h or 0d to 360d and the Dec values must lie in the range -90d to 90d.
Output root filename. The root filename itself will contain a list of the sublists. The sublists will have _NNN appended to the root name where NNN is a three digit number. If there are more than 999 sublists the number of digits will increase. A check is made for any pre-existing filenames with this root, sequence pattern, and optional extension and an error will result if any are found.
extn = ""
Optional output extension. This string is appended to the output files noted previously. Note that an period must be given explicitly if a ".XXX" style extension is desired.
sep = (arcsec)
The maximum separation in arcseconds in RA and Dec, applied separately, which defines the start of a new group.
raunit = "hr" (hr|deg)
The input RA unit where "hr" is hours and "deg" is degrees.
keepcoords = yes
Keep the input coordinate columns in the output lists? If no then only the user data will be placed in the output lists. This option allows taking a list of RA, Dec, and filenames and producing only lists of filenames to be used as @files.
raformat = "%.2h", decformat = "%.1h"
The format for printing the RA and Dec in the output lists if keepcoords is yes. See the help for printf for the formats. Note that the raformat may be given in %H format to convert input RA in degrees into output hours. The default produces sexigesimal format keeping the RA in the same units as the input.


This task groups a list of user data with RA and Dec coordinates into sublists where all points in a group have at least one member with celestial distance in RA or Dec separately less than or equal to the specified separation. In other words, groups are defined by gaps in RA and Dec.

The input format is a text table where each line consists of an RA, a Dec, and arbitrary user data. Whitespace separates these three parts. The RA and Dec have certain restrictions on units and ranges as described in the parameters. However, the RA may be given either in hours or degrees and may be output in hours if given in degrees.

The output is a set of sublists as well as a file containing the set of sublist filenames. The sublists contain the input user data with or without the input coordinates.

The grouping algorithm is summarized as follows. The input list is sorted by declination. The declination ordered list is traversed to form groups with consecutive declination intervals less than or equal to the specified separation. These groups are then sorted in RA and these are traversed to form the final groups with consecutive RA intervals less than or equal to the specified separation. Note that the RA intervals are actually computed by skysep and make use of both the RA and Dec.

A challenge is dealing with the wrap around in RA at the zero meridian. This is handled by duplicating points near 0 beyond 24h or 360d. This is the reason the input is required to only be in a specific range. This duplication can result in entries appearing in more than one output group. A merging step handles this situation.


1. A set of images is to be grouped based on their FITS tangent point coordinates. Note this make most sense when the tangent point pixel coordinates are the same in the image. The image will then be grouped to find those that overlap by some amount. If the images have 10 arc minute fields of view and we want to group those that overlap by at least 50% then the separation parameter should be something like 5 arc minutes. We want to the output to a list of only the file names which will then be passed on to an image stacking program.

    cl> hselect *.fits crval1,crval2,title yes > coords
    cl> skygroup coords group extn=".lis" sep=300 rau=deg keep-
    cl> type group.lis
    cl> type group_001.lis
    cl> count @group.lis
    cl> count @group
	  1       3      85 group_001.lis
	  2       6     170 group_002.lis
	102     306    8670 group_003.lis
	133     399   11438 group_004.lis
	 31      93    2666 group_005.lis
	  7      21     595 group_006.lis
	  5      15     425 group_007.lis
	281     843   24049 Total

The CRVAL values are for the RA and Dec world axes respectively. Because the FITS reference values must be in degrees the input RA unit is specified as degrees. Because we want only the output file names we use keepcoords=no. The output lists will be group_001.lis, group_002.lis, etc.


skysep, astradius, astcalc

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