AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

An Experiment in Photometric Data Reduction of Rapid Cadence Flare Search Data (Abstract)

Volume 42 number 2 (2014)

Gary A. Vander Haagen
825 Stonegate Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103; garyvh2@gmail.com
Larry E. Owings
23220 Barnes Lane, Colfax, CA 95713; lowings@foothill.net


(Abstract only) A process was developed to utilize a singe star both for tracking and as a differential reference for high time resolution flare surveys. A data pipeline was also developed to process and merge, time stamped, high data rate target and slow data rate comparison star data for million-line files. This process reduced the data reduction time and aided in identification and analysis of photometric flare events during nightly surveys. The optical system employed a pellicle beam splitter for dual beam data collection, one path for a CCD camera for alignment, tracking, and reference and a second path for the silicon photomultiplier collection of the target data. Typical target photometric sampling rates were 100 samples/second. Comparison star flux and sky background was available over a continuous cycle ranging from every 1 to 10 seconds, depending upon the guide star’s magnitude and the atmospheric stability. The data pipeline yielded target flux data with corrections for sky background, detector dark count, and differential compensation. The data pipeline was successfully tested using flare search data from YY Gem, where, 81.6 ksec (22.7 hours) of data were collected and one flare detected, resulting in a flare rate of 0.044 flare/hour, consistent with cited research.