The dark energy survey data processing and calibration system

Joseph J. Mohr, Robert Armstrong, Emmanuel Bertin, Gregory Daues, Shantanu Desai, Michelle Gower, Robert Gruendl, William Hanlon, Nikolay Kuropatkin, Huan Lin, John Marriner, Don Petravick, Ignacio Sevilla, Molly Swanson, Todd Tomashek, Douglas Tucker, Brian Yanny

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The Dark Energy Survey (DES) is a 5000 deg2 grizY survey reaching characteristic photometric depths of 24th magnitude (10 sigma) and enabling accurate photometry and morphology of objects ten times fainter than in SDSS. Preparations for DES have included building a dedicated 3 deg2 CCD camera (DECam), upgrading the existing CTIO Blanco 4m telescope and developing a new high performance computing (HPC) enabled data management system (DESDM). The DESDM system will be used for processing, calibrating and serving the DES data. The total data volumes are high (∼2PB), and so considerable effort has gone into designing an automated processing and quality control system. Special purpose image detrending and photometric calibration codes have been developed to meet the data quality requirements, while survey astrometric calibration, coaddition and cataloging rely on new extensions of the AstrOmatic codes which now include tools for PSF modeling, PSF homogenization, PSF corrected model fitting cataloging and joint model fitting across multiple input images. The DESDM system has been deployed on dedicated development clusters and HPC systems in the US and Germany. An extensive program of testing with small rapid turn-around and larger campaign simulated datasets has been carried out. The system has also been tested on large real datasets, including Blanco Cosmology Survey data from the Mosaic2 camera. In Fall 2012 the DESDM system will be used for DECam commissioning, and, thereafter, the system will go into full science operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSoftware and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy II
StatePublished - 2012
EventSoftware and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy II - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: Jul 1 2012Jul 4 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherSoftware and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy II


  • Data management
  • High performance computing
  • Optical astronomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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