INPUT_FILE_FORMATS · DATABASE_FORMAT_FOR_INITIAL_PARAMETER_VALUES
FORMATS_FOR_USERSUPPLIED_MODELS · SAMPLE_DATABASE_FILE · DATABASE_FORMAT_FOR_FLUX_INTERVAL_COMPUTATIONS
NAME
specfit  fit lines and continua to 1D spectra
USAGE
specfit spectra
PARAMETERS
 spectra
 The input spectrum to be fit. This input file must be either a 1D or 2D IRAF image or an ASCII file formatted as described below.
 debug = no
 Debugging mode on or off. (Totally useless for the typical user.)
 interact = yes
 Selects interactive or noninteractive fitting modes.
 gridfit = no
 If you are in noninteractive mode and gridfit = yes it will use a grid type of fitting algorithm. This algorithm will take one or two parameters. Then it will give these parameters a user specified lower limit value and then increase this value by a certain user specified step size until an upper limit is reached. For each combination of values it reaches it will call one of the other fitting algorithms (see type_of_fit). This algorithm will remember the best combination of values and then output the entire grid to the log files. Note that this is a very slow algorithm.
 errors_from_model = no
 Compute expected variances from the Model? If so, the PROS approximation for low count rates is used, sigma=1.+sqrt(n+0.75). The default, "no", is to use the usersupplied errors in the data file.
 plotdata = no
 Determines whether an ASCII file suitable for plotting with MONGO is produced upon exit. This file contains the wavelengths, the data, the errors, the model, and the values of the individual components of the model.
 type_of_fit = "numrecipe"
 In noninteractive mode, selects whether the Simplex, Marquardt, Numrecipe minimization algorithms are to be used. The Numrecipes algorithm is recommended.
 logfiles = STDOUT
 Specifies a list of file names for logging the results.
 database = "sfdb"
 Relative pathname to the database directory.
 initial_fit = "initial"
 Specifies that the file "sfdb/sfinitial" is the database file containing the initial guesses for the parameters.
 final_fit = "final"
 Specifies that the file "sfdb/sffinal" is the database file containing the final best fit values.
 plot_file = "specfit.plt"
 File name for the plot file. Not used unless plotdata=yes.
 flux_intervals = "fluxes"
 Specifies that the database file "sfdb/sffluxes" should be used to select spectral regions for integrating fluxes in lines and the continuum. If no integrations are desired, enter the null string.
 Sample_ranges = "*"
 Wavelength intervals to be used in fitting the spectrum. An asterisk "*" means use all the data. A list such as "3200.53290.1,33003400" specifies separate regions. This can be used to avoid noisy data or regions that are otherwise unsuitable for fitting. Either real or integer values may be entered.
 max_iterations = 100
 Maximum number of iterations to be used by the minimizing routine. This frequently constrains when a minimization process exits when one is starting a fit, so choose a low number initially to avoid seemingly endless waits.
 fit_tolerance = 1.e5
 One of several tolerance parameters governing when a fit exits. The fractional change in chisquare must be less than this value for a fit to exit on its own.
 v= 0., v1 = 1.0
 Offset and slope used for calculating the variance if a 1D IRAF image is the
input. Errors in the flux will be calculated with the formula
Err = sqrt( v0 + v1 * Flux ).
If you want uniform weighting, set v0 to an appropriate value (perhaps 10% of the mean flux) and v1 = 0.0. For a spectrum containing raw counts following a Poisson error distribution, use v0 = 0.0 and v1 = 1.0.
 low_mult = .1
 This value is used when you are entering the information about a new component in interactive mode. It multiplies this number and the new parameter value together to get the default lower bound to the newly entered parameter.
 high_mult = 10
 This variable is used much the same as the previous variable low_mult except that it is used to determine the new upper bound on the parameter.
 step_mult = .01
 Same as before this variable is used to determine the default step size when entering a new component.
 key_file = /home/hut4/student/grimes/specfit/spec8/
 This important value specifies where the file named specfit.key can be found. This file is used in the interactive mode to list what key strokes are allowed.
The next group of parameters are all used by the gridfit algorithm only.
 grid_num = 2
 This parameter can only have two values, either 1 or 2. It specifies whether you'd like to use the grid fit algorithm on one or two parameters.
 grid_comp= 5
 This is the number of the component that the first parameter that you want to grid can be found in.
 grid_par= 2
 This is the number of the first parameter that you want to grid.
 grid_blim= 1E16
 This is the value that the first parameter will start incrementing from.
 grid_tlim= 1E15
 This is the value that the first parameter will stop incrementing at.
 grid_step= 1E16
 This is the value that the first parameter will be incremented by.
 grid_comp2, grid_par2, grid_blim2, grid_tlim2, grid_step2
 These parameters are used exactly as above except that these are for the second parameter if two is specified as the value of grid_num.
The following parameters are used in response to particular keystrokes in interactive cursor mode:
 plot_ranges = "*"
 In the interactive mode you can select which components you would like to see plotted. Default is all ("*").
 new_sample
 Specify new sample ranges for fitting the data.
 comp_number
 Component number to be changed.
 param_number
 Parameter number of comp_number to be changed.
 new_par_value
 New value for the parameter being changed.
 lower_limit
 New lower limit for a parameter.
 upper_limit
 New upper limit for a parameter.
 step_size
 New step size for a parameter.
 param_tolerance
 New tolerance for fitting a parameter.
 fix_or_free
 New value for letting a variable vary freely (0), remain fixed at its current value (1), or be linked (n) to the value of the corresponding parameter of parameter n.
 change_iterations
 New number for max_iterations.
 choice
 Used to answer a YES or NO question.
 comp_name
 The name of the new component type to be entered.
DESCRIPTION
SPECFIT provides an interactive facility to fit wide varieties of emission line, absorption line, and continuum models to an input spectrum. A brief description is given by G. Kriss in the proceedings of the 3rd ADASS Conference (1994, PASP Conf. Series, Vol. 61, p. 437). The input spectrum can either be an IRAF image file or an ASCII file whose format is described below. By selecting a combination of functional forms for various components, the user can fit complex spectra with multiple continuum components, blended emission lines and absorption lines, absorption edges, and extinction. All emission components are assumed to sum linearly. For each absorption component the transmission function is calculated and applied to all PRECEDING components in the database file. This allows the user to specify overlying, unabsorbed emission components (e.g., airglow lines) in the model. Userprovided components supplied as ASCII tables of wavelength and value can also be used to model the continuum, emission line profiles, and absorption components. Overall input to SPECFIT is controlled by the usual IRAF parameter file system. However, the complex inputs necessary to specify a model are handled via ASCII database files described below.
Fitting is done via Chisquare minimization using one of five different algorithms. The iraf routine based on a marquardt type algorithm from numrecipes called Numrecipe seems to be usually the most effective and the fastest. However in some cases the stability and procedures of the Simplex algorithm are superior. The other three algorithms are Marquardt, Gridfit (see explanation above with the gridfit parameter), and Alternate (which alternates between calling Numrecipe and Simplex). The Marquardt algorithm does occasionally encounter floating point exceptions in complex nonlinear models. Also, occasionally, both the marquardt and numrecipe algorithms can get lost when your initial fit is very far from the minimum. This can be fixed by using the simplex algorithm. Once the minimization has exited either by meeting the tolerance requirements specified (rare) or by hitting the maximum number of iterations, errors for each freely varying parameter are determined by evaluating the curvature matrix around the final value of Chisquare with a finite difference calculation. The curvature matrix is inverted to obtain the error matrix. The error matrix is rescaled by the reduced Chisquare before evaluating the errors, which are one sigma for a single interesting parameter. The user is warned that additional upward scalings may be necessary for multiparameter fits where one is interested in all parameters simultaneously. (See Lampton, Margon, and Bowyer 1976, Ap.J., 208, 177, and Avni 1976, Ap.J., 210, 642. The paper by Avni discusses a more general case that makes the important distinction between "interesting" and "uninteresting" parameters.) Best fit values and error bars are reported in a userspecified log file.
N.B., errors are calculated under the assumption that the errors on the input spectrum follow a Gaussian distribution. If your data do not satisfy this assumption, be wary of the error bars returned by SPECFIT. Poissondistributed data in the smallnumber limit are a typical example that causes problems.
One may also request that the program perform integrations over various line or continuum portions of the fit. This will give total fluxes with error bars for blended emission lines or portions of the continuum. The selected regions for integration are specified in an ASCII database file described below.
If desired, an ASCII file suitable for plotting with MONGO or SMONGO is also produced. This file has multiple columns in the following format:
Wave Data Errors Model Comp1 Comp2 Comp3 . . . CompN
Where the columns "CompN" are the values of the individual components and "Model" is the full model.
INTERACTIVE MODE
the following keystrokes are active in addition to the normal IRAF cursor facilities (available with ":.help"):

 I
 Enter the interactive component addition facility. This allows you to add a new component to the fit while running the program.
 S
 Delete a component. Given a component number it will delete the component from the fit.
 G
 List the types of components.
 a
 Change the fitting tolerance on a parameter.
 c
 Change the value of a parameter.
 e
 Evaluate the current fit and display the value of Chisquare.
 f
 Minimize Chisquare using the simplex method.
 m
 Minimize Chisquare using a Marquardt algorithm.
 n
 Minimize Chisquare using Numrecipe, an optimal Marquardt algorithm.
 i
 Inquire about the value of a parameter.
 l
 Change the lower limit on a parameter.
 p
 Overplot the fit on the data. It is best to first use "r" to refresh the screen.
 o
 Specify which components to plot (p).
 q
 Exit SPECFIT. This may actually take a while if the model has many free parameters since the error matrix must be calculated to obtain the error bars. If you wish to exit quickly in such a case and rerun the fit in the background, simply type "^C" after you have typed "q". This will leave the database file for the final fit updated but the log files incomplete. Also during program execution typing ^C or killing the specfit process if it running in the background will cause specfit to quit but will also save to the final database file the current status of the fit. This will not work for all forms of the kill function, however (i.e. "kill 9 pid"), so just using "kill pid" is recommended.
 s
 Select new sample ranges for the fit.
 t
 Change the maximum number of iterations permitted in minimization.
 u
 Change the upper limit on a parameter.
 x
 Change the fix_or_free status of a parameter. 0 = free to vary; 1 = fixed at current value; n = link to the corresponding parameter of component n at a ratio given by the step size.
 z
 Change the step size for a parameter.
 "space"
 Hitting the space bar (or any other unrecognized key) displays the current cursor position in user coordinates.
 d
 Plot the distribution of Chisquare with wavelength. Make sure the window is displayed full scale before issuing this command, or the plot will bomb. Enter the window system with w, then give an "a" for all. You can rewindow after the Chisquare plot appears.
 
 The minus key "" will plot the residuals of the fit.
 +
 The "plus" key will plot the model alone.
 w
 Enter the IRAF windowing function to adjust the region plotted.
 :
 Issue an IRAF colon command, e.g. :.snap or :.gflush.
 ?
 Print a help screen summarizing the functions of these cursor commands.
INPUT FILE FORMATS
SPECFIT will accept either an IRAF image file or an ASCII file for the input spectrum. It ascertains the file type by looking for the ".**h" extension of an IRAF image file. If the ".**h" is absent from the given filename, the file is assumed to be an ASCII input file as described below. If the file is an IRAF image, the wavelength scale is set using CRVAL1, CDELT1 or W0, WPC. If these are missing, the default is to use pixel numbers for the x coordinate. For 1D images errors are calculated using the parameters v0 and v1 to calculate a scaled variance from the input fluxes. 2D images are assumed to be in the format produced by the HUT ballistic process  fluxes in the first line of the image, and corresponding errors in the second line.
The ASCII input file has two header lines followed by the data. The data are in three columns giving wavelength, value, and error bar. Be certain that error bars != 0.0, or you will get floating point errors. The first line of the header is interpreted as purely informational, and is used only to label the plots. The first field of the second line is critical  it is an integer listing the number of points in the spectrum (the number of points is limited only by the available memory since data storage is dynamically allocated). The second field is optional, and it gives the integration time. A portion of a sample file is shown here:
NGC4151 HUT 2188s 440 2188. 923.87 0.1380 0.6260 924.39 0.8460 0.3615 924.90 0.3400 0.4426 925.41 0.5610 0.6260 925.93 1.9960 0.2555 926.44 0.1080 0.6260 926.95 1.4390 0.2799 927.47 0.6400 0.3615
DATABASE FORMAT FOR INITIAL PARAMETER VALUES
SPECFIT relies on the IRAF database format for inputting and maintaining the large number of parameters necessary to describe the model to be fit to the data. Parameters are allowed to vary freely, be fixed at a value selected by the user, or to be linked to the value of the corresponding parameter in another component of the model. For example, a model for deblending H alpha and the [N II] lines might have three components with the shorter wavelength [N II] has its flux, wavelength, and velocity width fixed relative to the corresponding parameters in the brighter, longer wavelength component. Note that the order of the components in this file is significant since absorption components apply only to components preceding them in the database file.
Up to 100 components containing a total of 500 parameters are permitted. Twenty one different component types are recognized by SPECFIT, and each has a specific number of associated parameters:
linear  a linear continuum, 2 parameters 1  flux at 1000 Angstroms 2  continuum slope (change in flux per Angstrom) powerlaw  a power law continuum (Flambda), 2 parameters 1  flux at 1000 Angstroms 2  power law index alpha for f = (x/1000)^(alpha) bpl  a broken power law continuum (Flambda), 4 parameters 1  flux at the break wavelength 2  the break wavelength (Angstroms) 3  power law index below the break 4  power law index above the break blackbody  blackbody continuum in Flambda, 2 parameters 1  Flux at 5500 Angstroms (Flambda) 2  temperature (Kelvin) gaussian  Gaussian line profile, 4 parameters 1  flux, or area under the Gaussian 2  centroid of the line 3  FWHM of the line in km/sec 4  Skew. 1 == symmetric logarith  Powerlaw line profile, 4 parameters F = I0 * ( x/centroid )**alpha, I0 and alpha evaluated from flux and FWHM 1  flux, or area under the line 2  centroid of the line 3  FWHM of the line in km/sec 4  Skew. 1 == symmetric labsorp  absorption line described by a Gaussian 1  Equivalent width of the line 2  centroid 3  FWHM in km/sec tauabs  absorption line described by a Gaussian in optical depth 1  Optical depth at line center 2  centroid 3  FWHM in km/sec eabsorp  absorption edge; optical depth ~ (lambda/lambda0)^3 1  optical depth at the edge 2  wavelength of the edge (lambda0 above) recomb  optically thin recombination continuum, 3 parameters 1  flux at the edge 2  wavelength of the edge 3  electron temperature (K) 4  FWHM in km/s extcor  Mean galactic extinction, Seaton law, 1 parameter 1  E(BV) usercont  usersupplied continuum, 4 parameters 1  normalization (1 if model fluxes match data perfectly) 2  linear shift in wavelength 3  redshift 4  value of the "key" parameter (see below) (N.B. 2 and 3 should generally be mutually exclusive) Filenames plus "key" values must be in "continuum.ls". userline  usersupplied line profile, 4 parameters 1  normalization (1.0 gives input values from file) 2  linear shift in wavelength 3  redshift 4  value of the "key" parameter (see below) (N.B. 2 and 3 should generally be mutually exclusive) Filenames plus "key" values must be in "profile.ls". userabs  usersupplied absorption, 4 parameters User supplies tau vs. lambda. Program computes abs = exp( norm * tau(lambda) ) 1  normalization (1.0 gives input values from file) 2  linear shift in wavelength 3  redshift 4  value of the "key" parameter (see below) (N.B. 2 and 3 should generally be mutually exclusive) Filenames plus "key" values must be in "absorption.ls". lorentz  Modified Lorentzian line profile, 4 parameters F = flux * FWHM/2PI / ( (xcentroid)**alpha + FWHM**2/4) 1  flux, or area under the line (only for alpha = 2) 2  centroid of the line 3  FWHM of the line in km/sec (only for alpha = 2) 4  alpha  exponent of (x  centroid) in denominator dampabs  Damped absorption line, 3 parameters 1  Column density times the oscillator strength 2  centroid of the line 3  Lifetime of the transition (Gamma, sec) logabs  absorption line with tau~lambdalambda0^alpha, 3 params 1  optical depth at line center 2  centroid of the line 3  FWHM of the line in km/sec ffree  F = Norm * ( 5500/x )**2 * exp(1.43E8/x/temp), 2 params 1  Normalization in Flambda at 5500A 2  Temperature in Kelvin extdrude  Drude extinction curve, for UV spectra below 3200A. See paper by Fitzpatrick and Massa ( ApJ, 1988, vol. 328, p. 734 ) for more information, 7 params 1  E(BV) 2  w0 3  Gamma 4  c1 5  c2 6  c3 7  c4 disk  F = Norm * ( x**Beta ) * exp ( hc/(k * Temp * x ) ) 1  Normalized Flux 2  Beta Value 3  Temperature in Kelvins ccmext  Extinction Curve using the Cardelli, Clayton, and Mathis method. (ApJ, 1989, vol 345, pp 245), 2 params 1  E(BV) 2  RV
FORMATS FOR USERSUPPLIED MODELS
A list of filenames for the usersupplied models must be in the files "continuum.ls", "profile.ls", or "absorption.ls", as appropriate, in the current directory. On the same line with each file name there must be a "key" value which is the physical parameter that varies from file to file. The key values are assumed to be given in increasing order. SPECFIT calculates the model value by linear interpolation between the model files listed. Key values below the smallest model key return the value in the first model file. Key values greater than the largest model key return values from the last model file. Values are not extrapolated. Single model files with a fixed key value are analogous to the previous method SPECFIT used for usersupplied models. Up to 20 files and associated key parameters may be given. The model files may reside in any directory, but full path names must be specified. Model files are freeformat ASCII lists of wavelength and value. The wavelengths must increase monotonically at a fixed delta lambda. Model files may contain up to 10000 points. Each model may contain a differing number of points.
Note that the list of usersupplied models need not be physically related if the values of the key parameters are fixed to identically match a given file. This permits one to use several different usersupplied models simultaneously by making more than one "usercont" entry in the input database file, each with a different, fixed, value of its key parameter. One then could, for example, fit an accretion disk model plus host galaxy starlight to the spectrum of a Seyfert galaxy as shown below for NGC 4151.
SAMPLE DATABASE FILE
A sample database file is illustrated here, used for fitting a portion of the HUT NGC 4151 spectrum:
begin n4151 task specfit components 7 powerlaw gaussian labsorp labsorp userabs usercont usercont powerlaw1 2 #Comments can be placed here 1.143721 0. 2. 0.1 0.001 0 1.328607 5. 5. 0.04 0.001 0 gaussian2 4 #and here 3.666615 0. 10. 0.5 0.001 0 1040.954 1035. 1045. 1. 0.001 0 2.5466 2.5 15. 0.3 0.001 0 1. 0. 1. 0.1 0.001 1 labsorp3 3 # and so on, ... 1.364428 0. 4. 0.2 0.001 0 1032.501 1032. 1042. 0.99647 0.001 4 1.3 1. 2.5 0.1 0.001 1 labsorp4 3 1.364428 0. 4. 0.2 0.001 0 1039.069 1032. 1042. 0.5 0.001 0 1.3 1. 2.5 0.1 0.001 1 userabs5 4 # Molecular hydrogen absorption 1.0 0. 1.1 0.02 0.001 0 0.0 10.0 10.0 0.1 0.001 1 3.300000E4 0. 0.005 1.000000E4 0.001 0 18.50 17.00 20.00 0.5 0.001 0 usercont6 4 # accretion disk spectrum 1.0 0. 1.1 0.02 0.001 0 0.0 10.0 10.0 0.1 0.001 1 3.300000E4 0. 0.005 1.000000E4 0.001 0 1.0 1.0 1.0 0.5 0.001 1 usercont7 4 # host galaxy starlight 1.0 0. 1.1 0.02 0.001 0 0.0 10.0 10.0 0.1 0.001 1 3.300000E4 0. 0.005 1.000000E4 0.001 0 2.0 2.0 2.0 0.5 0.001 1
This says to fit the spectrum with seven components: a powerlaw continuum, a Gaussian emission line, two absorption features, a userspecified absorption spectrum, and two usersupplied continuum spectra. Note some of the special features used here: the skew of the Gaussian is fixed at 1.0 (symmetric); the widths of the two absorption features (O VI) are initially fixed at the HUT resolution, 900 km/sec; the wavelength of the shorter wavelength absorption feature is fixed relative to component 4 in the ratio of the separation of the O VI doublet by specifying a link to component 4 in the last column of the wavelength entry for labsorp3. The file "absorption.ls" for this case looks like this:
nh170b50.dat 17.0 nh180b50.dat 18.0 nh190b50.dat 19.0 nh200b50.dat 20.0
The listed file names each contain two columns giving wavelength and optical depth for the value of log Nh given as the "key" parameter in "absorption.ls". The usersupplied continuum models in "continuum.ls" are completed unrelated, and their "key" parameters have no physical meaning  here they merely serve as an index for a model to choose. Note that these key parameters are fixed (1) in the input database file. The file "continuum.ls" looks like this
m70mdot02.dat 1.0 b0star.dat 2.0
The parameter entries for a given component have these meanings:
componentN Npar value1 lowerlimit upperlimit stepsize tolerance fix/free
Lower and upper limits are treated as "soft" walls: a parameter may go outside these limits on a final iteration, but it is pulled back one step away from the limit at the start of the next iteration.
The stepsize is the initial step size used by the minimization algorithms. This should generally be less than 10%20% of the parameter value. The stepsize also serves the dual function of supplying the ratio factor when one parameter is linked to another as described below.
The tolerance is used to evaluate when a fit is "finished". This is the absolute value of the maximum fractional error permitted before halting the minimization process. ALL parameters plus Chisquare must be within their tolerance limits for a fit to exit, so it is usually best to specify a maximum number of iterations.
The fix/free column says whether a parameter should vary freely (0), be fixed at the value given (1), or be linked to another parameter (N, where 0 < N < Ncomponents). If linked to another parameter, the step size is used to supply the ratio to be applied to the linked parameter to derive the value of this parameter. For example, if I want to fix the wavelength, flux and width of [O III] 4959 relative to [O III] 5007, I link parameters 1, 2, and 3 of the 4959 component to the component number of 5007, specify a step size of 0.33 for the flux ratio, a step size of 0.994 = 4959/5007 for the wavelength, and a step size of 1.0 for the width.
DATABASE FORMAT FOR FLUX INTERVAL COMPUTATIONS
The following example shows how to specify flux measurements for two different emission line intervals plus one continuum interval:
begin NeVflux task specfit intervals 3 3310.0 3390.0 1 4 NeV1 2 3 4 5 3420.0 3510.0 1 4 NeV2 6 7 8 9 3395.0 3415.0 1 0 F3400
This says to integrate the flux above the fitted continuum (component 1) over the specified wavelength intervals, and also to sum the flux in the 4 separate components used to fit each of the NeV lines  components 2, 3, 4, and 5 for NeV1, and components 6, 7, 8, 9 for NeV2. The continuum interval specified at the end has no emission line components (0 in the 4th column).
If one does not wish any integrations performed, the database filename in the parameter file must be set to the null string "".
BUGS The Marquardt minimization algorithm occasionally produces floating point exception errors. The best solution is to start again with fewer iterations, then switch to simplex minimization to get the solution past the region giving the Marquardt algorithm problems. One could then switch back, if desired.
The Numrecipes algorithm occasionally gets Matrix Inversion Errors or Singular Matrix errors. Usually this is caused by some incorrectly entered data. Singular matrices are often traceable to free parameters that have no effect on the fit  e.g., a Gaussian component whose flux is fixed at zero but whose wavelength and FWHM are permitted to vary freely.
The ^C interrupts handler that is invoked when the user hits ^C instead of exiting the program usually correctly saves the current status of the database file to the output database. However it occasionally does not output the corresponding message informing the user that it has done this.