Data Reduction

The instrument team has developed reduction pipelines for FIRE spectra that will be distributed to the public in March or April 2011, depending on final testing timescales. The pipeline software is written in IDL, and builds on several external packages, inlcuding the SDSS idlutils, idlspec2d, Jason Prochaska's xidl package, and Mike Cushing's Spextool.

The pipeline is distributed and documented through MIT's wiki service. The intent in releasing through the wiki format is to encourage active discussion and documentation of problems and solutions within the user community.

The main pipeline is written for Echelle mode observations, and is optimized for point source extractions. Multiple objects on the slit are possible but not fully supported; we have not yet tested for extended sources. For observations of extended sources the pipeline can be used to generate 2D wavelength solutions and sky subtracted frames. Users wishing to develop their own extraction for such data will probably benefit from the wavelength maps produced by the standard pipeline.

A secondary set of routines is provided for Longslit reductions. This code is less mature, but appears to work well. Alternatively, several users have successfully extracted longslit prism spectra using IRAF.

Users wishing to access the FIRE reduction code are required to register a username with the MIT wiki server. This helps us better understand who is using the software, and also gives us a mechanism to contact users when we release updates to the code. Also, it provides a modest level of security from changes to the wiki from non-FIRE-users.


When you click the above link, you will be guided through the procedure to create an MIT "touchstone collaboration account." When you have created an account, email the username to Rob Simcoe and you will be added to the access list for the Wiki.

Please be patient as we work through our final testing of the code using our "alpha" users. The pipeline successfully reduces most spectra but still crashes for some classes of data. Many users have expressed interest in serving as testers for the software. Unless there is an urgent or time-sensitive need to reduce your spectra, we encourage you to wait until the beta release. We will release as soon as we are confident that most or all data types will not crash the pipeline, even if the final data products are not of perfect quality.


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