WCSTools: An Image Astrometry Toolkit
by Douglas J. Mink
Most astronomical images are now digital. Those which are
taken on CCD detectors at most telescopes arrive with only
rudimentary pointing information. Software tools have been
written to automatically match imaged objects to source
catalogs and save the relationship between pixel position
and sky position in the image files in a more accurate way.
This world coordinate system (WCS) is then used for a
variety of purposes such as displaying sky coordinates
while browsing an image, with such programs as SAOimage
or SKYCAT, catalog positions of objects in an image, or
listing all of the HST Guide Stars or USNO A 1.0 stars
which should appear in an image. As this code can also
deal with the world coordinate systems written into Space
Telescope or Digitized Sky Survey data, they are tools
for astronomers needing positions of objects in almost
any kind of digital astronomical image.
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Presented as a poster paper at the annual meeting of the Division on
Dynamical Astronomy of the American Astronomical Society, Charlottesville,
VA, 1-3 April 1998.