Removing atmospheric fringes from zwicky transient facility i-band images using principal component analysis

Michael S. Medford, Peter Nugent, Danny Goldstein, Frank J. Masci, Igor Andreoni, Ron Beck, Michael W. Coughlin, Dmitry A. Duev, Ashish A. Mahabal, Reed L. Riddle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The Zwicky Transient Facility is a time-domain optical survey that has substantially increased our ability to observe and construct massive catalogs of astronomical objects by use of its 47 square degree camera that can observe in multiple filters. However the telescope’s i-band filter suffers from significant atmospheric fringes that reduce photometric precision, especially for faint sources and in multi-epoch co-additions. Here we present a method for constructing models of these atmospheric fringes using Principal Component Analysis that can be used to identify and remove these artifacts from contaminated images. In addition, we present the Uniform Background Indicator as a quantitative measurement of the reduced correlated background noise and photometric error present after removing fringes. We conclude by evaluating the effect of our method on measuring faint sources through the injection and recovery of artificial stars in both single-image epochs and co-additions. Our method for constructing atmospheric fringe models and applying those models to produce cleaned images is available for public download in the open source Python package fringez (

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number064503
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number1024
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge support from the University of California Office of the President for the UC Laboratory Fees Research Program In-Residence Graduate Fellowship (Grant ID: LGF-19-600357). This research used resources of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, a DOE Office of Science User Facility supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. We acknowledge support from the DOE under grant DE-AC02-05CH11231, Analytical Modeling for Extreme-Scale Computing Environments. M.W.C. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation with grant No. PHY-2010970.

Funding Information:
This work is based on observations obtained with the Samuel Oschin Telescope 48 inch and the 60 inch Telescope at the Palomar Observatory as part of the Zwicky Transient Facility project. ZTF is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. AST-1440341 and a collaboration including Caltech, IPAC, the Weizmann Institute for Science, the Oskar Klein Center at Stockholm University, the University of Maryland, the University of Washington, Deutsches Elektro-nen-Synchrotron and Humboldt University, Los Alamos National Laboratories, the TANGO Consortium of Taiwan, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. Operations are conducted by COO, IPAC, and UW.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, IOP Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Algorithms
  • Astronomical optics
  • CCD photometry
  • Computational methods
  • Open source software
  • Principal component analysis
  • Publicly available software


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