We consider wavelets as a tool to perform a variety of tasks in the context of analysing cosmic microwave background (CMB) maps. Using spherical Haar wavelets, we define a position and angular-scale-dependent measure of power that can be used to assess the existence of spatial structure. We apply planar Daubechies wavelets for the identification and removal of point sources from small sections of sky maps. Our technique can successfully identify virtually all point sources that are above 3σ and more than 80 per cent of those above 1σ. We discuss the trade-offs between the levels of correct and false detections. We denoise and compress a 100 000-pixel CMB map by a factor of ∼10 in 5 s, achieving a noise reduction of about 35 per cent. In contrast to Wiener filtering, the compression process is model-independent and very fast. We discuss the usefulness of wavelets for power spectrum and cosmological-parameter estimation. We conclude that at present wavelet functions are most suitable for identifying localized sources.
- Cosmic microwave background
- Methods: statistical