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Explanatory Supplement to the
AllWISE Data Release Products

R. M. Cutri (IPAC/Caltech), E. L. Wright (UCLA), T. Conrow (IPAC/Caltech), J. W. Fowler (IPAC/Caltech), P. R. M. Eisenhardt (JPL), C. Grillmair (IPAC/Caltech), J. D. Kirkpatrick (IPAC/Caltech), F. Masci (IPAC/Caltech), H. L. McCallon (IPAC/Caltech), S. L. Wheelock (IPAC/Caltech), S. Fajardo-Acosta (IPAC/Caltech), L. Yan (IPAC/Caltech), D. Benford (NASA/GSFC), M. Harbut (IPAC/Caltech), T. Jarrett (U. Capetown) S. Lake (UCLA) D. Leisawitz (NASA/GSFC), M. E. Ressler (JPL), S. A. Stanford (UC Davis), C.-W. Tsai (JPL), F. Liu (JPL), G. Helou (IPAC/Caltech), A. Mainzer (JPL), D. Gettngs (U. Florida,) A. Gonzalez (U. Florida), D. Hoffman (Orbital Sciences Corp./NASA Ames Research Center), K. A. Marsh (Cardiff Univ.), D. Padgett (NASA/GSFC), M. F. Skrutskie (U. Virgina), R. Beck (IPAC/Caltech), M. Papin (IPAC/Caltech), M. Wittman (IPAC/Caltech)
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Table of Contents

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I. Introduction

  1. AllWISE Overview
    1. Relationship to Earlier Data Releases
    2. About This Document
    3. Acknowledgements
  2. WISE/NEOWISE Overview
    1. WISE Flight System
    2. Survey Strategy
    3. Survey Phases
  3. Executive Summary of the AllWISE Data Products
    1. AllWISE Source Catalog
    2. AllWISE Multiepoch Photometry Database
    3. AllWISE Image Atlas
    4. AllWISE Reject Table
    5. Full-Depth Ecliptic Polar Atlas Images
  4. Top Ten (or so) Things You Should Know About the AllWISE Data Products
  5. How to Access AllWISE Data Products
    1. Online Access
    2. Application Programming Interface
    3. Electronic Access to the Full Source Catalog
  6. Referencing AllWISE
    1. AllWISE Source Naming Convention
    2. Acknowledging AllWISE in Publications
  7. Acronym List
  8. Document Change History

II. AllWISE Source Catalog and Reject Table

  1. General Properties
    1. Format and Column Descriptions
    2. Catalog Selection Criteria - The Difference Between the AllWISE Source Catalog and Reject Table
    3. Catalog Statistics stats
    4. Photometric Information
    5. Astrometric Information
    6. Additional Information
  2. Cautionary Notes
    1. Sky Coverage and Implications
    2. Catalog Composition, Completeness and Reliability
    3. Source Photometry
    4. Motion Measurements
    5. Source Astrometry
    6. Artifact Flagging
    7. Extended Sources
    8. Flux Variability
    9. 2MASS Associations
    10. The Reject Table
  3. Photometric Properties
    1. Photometric Sensitivity
    2. Photometric Accuracy
    3. Flux Variability
      1. Interpreting the Variability Flag (var_flg)
      2. Tips for Using the Variability Flag in Searches
  4. Completeness and Reliability
    1. Catalog Completeness
    2. Catalog Reliability
  5. Astrometric properties
    1. Overview
    2. Catalog Positional Residuals Relative to UCAC4+pm
    3. Catalog Residuals Relative to Quasar Positions
    4. Known Issues
  6. Motion Measurements
    1. Overview
    2. How to interpret motion measurements
    3. Accuracy of motion measurements
    4. Motion limits
    5. Known Issues

III. AllWISE Multiepoch Photometry Database

  1. General Properties
    1. Format and Column Descriptions
    2. Relationship to Single-exposure Source Database
    3. Tips for Using the MEP Database
    4. Sample Light Curves
  2. Cautionary Notes
    1. Database content and usage
    2. MEP database photometry
    3. Positions in the MEP database

IV. AllWISE Image Atlas

  1. General Information
    1. Description and Format
    2. Atlas Image Header Description
    3. Atlas Image Metadata
      1. Atlas Image Metadata Table content and format description
      2. Atlas/Frame Cross-Reference Table content and format description
      3. Atlas Image Inventory Table Format
  2. Sky Coverage
    1. AllWISE Data Release Area
    2. Sky Coverage Statistics
    3. Caveats About Low Coverage
  3. Advice on using the Atlas Image Products
    1. Aperture Photometry Using the Atlas Images
      1. Correlated Pixel Noise
      2. Confusion Noise Term
    2. Astrometry of Image-derived Source Positions
      1. Correcting the Atlas Image-derived coordinates and WCS
  4. Cautionary Notes
    1. Depth-of-coverage variations
    2. Low coverage areas and bleed-through of spurious sources
    3. Astrometric biases with respect to the Source Catalog
    4. The intensity units of Atlas Image pixels are Digital Numbers (DN)
    5. Background (frame-overlap) matching
    6. Artificial background gradients from exceptionally bright sources
    7. Atlas Image artifacts
    8. "NaNs" and "holes" from saturation-masking
    9. Missed (unmasked) saturation
    10. Saturation "expansion" relative to All-Sky Release products
    11. Low-flux banding artifacts
    12. Effective size of a "point-source" in an Atlas Image
  5. Full-Depth Ecliptic Polar Atlas Images

V. AllWISE Data Processing

  1. Overview
    1. The Multiframe Pipeline
      1. Synopsis of the WSDS Improvements for AllWISE
      2. Basic Data Processing Terminology
    2. Data selections for AllWISE
      1. Band/Survey Phase
      2. Frame Quality and Dynamic Filtering
      3. Saturated W1 3-Band Cryo Images
  2. Single-exposure modifications in preparation for AllWISE
    1. Correcting the pixel histogram "spike"
    2. MFPRex—Multi-Frame Position Reconstruction—Updating band-frame positions
  3. Multiframe Pipeline Updates
    1. Image coaddition
      1. Overview
      2. Combining data from the different mission phases
      3. Updates to the Atlas Image generation process
      4. Attenuated coverage for polar tiles
    2. Source Extraction
      1. Source Detection (MDET)
      2. Adding small linear motion terms to source measurement model
      3. New background estimation algorithms
      4. Iterative background estimation
      5. Single-exposure Source Measurements (MEP Database Generation)
      6. Updated flux variability statistics (var_flg)
      7. Extended Source Flagging Updates (ext_flg)
    3. Astrometry
      1. Updated band-to-band offsets and distortion maps
    4. Artifact flagging
      1. Coverage scaling
      2. Bright source upper limits
    5. Photometric Calibration
  4. Catalog Generation
    1. Tile edge boundaries
    2. Duplicate source resolution
    3. Source reliability criteria


WWW AllWISE Explanatory Supplement

Last update: 6 January 2014

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