Produces a dark or pre-flash calibration image


This routine performs the combination of a series of dark count or pre-flash exposure frames. The input images should have been bias subtracted. The input data are divided by the exposure factors before combination into a calibration "master", giving an output image whose data represent one unit of the given exposure time per pixel. Thus the calibration frame should be multiplied by the appropriate factor before subtracting from other frames (i.e. by the dark time or the flash-exposure time). This can be performed by CALCOR and should be done prior to the production of a flatfield and flatfield correction. The data combination methods give a mixture of very robust (median) to very efficient (mean) methods to suit the data.


makecal in expose out method
alpha=? sigmas=? niter=? niter=? min=? max=?



ALPHA = _REAL (Read)
The fraction of extreme values to remove before combining the data at any pixel. This fraction is removed from each extreme so can only take a value in the range 0 to 0.5. Only used if METHOD="TRIMMED" [0.2]
Either: An exact number of exposure factors for the input images. The values must be in the same order as the input images.

Or: A single value which applies to all the input images.

Indirection through an ASCII file may be used to specify these values. If more than one line is required at prompt time then a continuation line may be requested by adding "-" to the end of the line.

This parameter will not be used if USEEXT is set TRUE.

A list of image names which contain the calibration data. The image names should be separated by commas and may include wildcards.

NOTE the use of wildcards with this program is not recommended unless the input images all have the same calibration exposure factors. The order of processing of any wildcarded images cannot be guaranteed.

Whether to keep (i.e. not delete) the input images or not. Deleting the input images has the advantage of saving disk space, but should probably only be used if this program is part of a sequence of commands and the intermediary data used by it are not important.

The default for this parameter is TRUE and this cannot be overridden except by assignment on the command line or in response to a forced prompt. [TRUE]

Name of the CCDPACK logfile. If a null (!) value is given for this parameter then no logfile will be written, regardless of the value of the LOGTO parameter.

If the logging system has been initialised using CCDSETUP then the value specified there will be used. Otherwise, the default is "CCDPACK.LOG". [CCDPACK.LOG]

Every CCDPACK application has the ability to log its output for future reference as well as for display on the terminal. This parameter controls this process, and may be set to any unique abbreviation of the following:
  • TERMINAL – Send output to the terminal only

  • LOGFILE – Send output to the logfile only (see the LOGFILE parameter)

  • BOTH – Send output to both the terminal and the logfile

  • NEITHER – Produce no output at all

If the logging system has been initialised using CCDSETUP then the value specified there will be used. Otherwise, the default is "BOTH". [BOTH]

MAX = _REAL (Read)
If METHOD = "THRESH" then this value defines the upper limit for values which can be used when combining the data. This limit applies to the range of the output data (i.e. the values after the exposure factors have been divided into the input data).
The method to be used to combine the data components of the input images. This may be set to any unique abbreviation of the following:
  • MEAN – Mean of the input data values

  • MEDIAN – Weighted median of the input data values

  • TRIMMED – An "alpha trimmed mean" in which a fraction alpha/2 of the values are removed from each extreme

  • MODE – An iteratively "sigma clipped" mean which approximates to the modal value

  • SIGMA – A sigma clipped mean

  • THRESHOLD – Mean with values above and below given limits removed

  • MINMAX – Mean with the highest and lowest values removed

  • BROADENED – A broadened median (the mean of a small number of central values)

  • CLIPMED – A sigma clipped median

  • FASTMED – Unweighted median of the input data values

See also “Image combination techniques”.


MIN = _REAL (Read)
If METHOD = "THRESH" then this value defines the lower limit for values which can be used when combining the data. This limit applies to the range of the output data (i.e. the values after the exposure factors have been divided into the input data).
The minimum number of good (ie. not BAD) pixels required to contribute to the value of an output pixel. Output pixels not meeting this requirement are set BAD. [1]
The number of refining iterations performed if METHOD = "MODE". [7]
Name of the output image to contain the calibration data. Note this image will have a type of at least _REAL. If USESET is true and multiple Sets are represented in the IN list then this name will be used as the name of an HDS container file containing one NDF structure for each Set Index value. This name may be specified using indirection through a file.
Number of standard deviations to reject data at. Used for "MODE", "SIGMA" and "CLIPMED" methods. For METHOD = "MODE" the standard deviation is estimated from the population of values, for METHOD = "SIGMA" and "CLIPMED" the variances are used. If no variances exist then the variation of the population is used to estimate one. [4.0]
Title for the output image. [Output from MAKECAL]
The frame types of the input data. This should be a recognised name "FLASH", "DARK" or "NONE". The value of this parameter affects the output image frame type which will be set to "MASTER_FLASH" or "MASTER_DARK" or "MASTER_?". [NONE]
Whether to use Set header information or not. If USESET is false then any Set header information will be ignored. If USESET is true, then input files will be considered in groups; a separate calibration frame will be constructed for each group of corresponding input frames (i.e. those sharing the same Set Index attribute). If this results in multiple output calibration files, they will be written as separate NDF structures into a single HDS container file. If no Set header information is present in the input files, then calibration is done on all the input files together, so USESET can usually be safely set to TRUE.

If a global value for this parameter has been set using CCDSETUP then that value will be used. [FALSE]

If TRUE then the EXPOSE parameter of this program will not be used and the required values will be obtained from the CCDPACK extensions of the input images instead. This method can only be used if the images have been "imported" using the programs PRESENT or IMPORT. Typically it is used when processing using CCDPACK’s "automated" methods.

Values obtained from the CCDPACK extension are identified in the output log by the presence of a trailing asterisk (). [FALSE]


makecal in="f1,f2,f3,f4" expose="100,200,300,400" method=median out=master_flash
This example forms a flash calibration image from the data in images f1,f2,f3 and f4. The data are divided by the relative exposure factors before combination. The combination method used is the (weighted) median, the resultant data are written to the image master_flash.
makecal "d1,d2,d3,d4" 1 master_dark trimmed alpha=0.2
This example produces a dark-count-calibration frame from the data in images d1,d2,d3 and d4. The exposure factors are given as 1 which probably indicates that the dark-exposure times in these datasets are exactly right to correct any subsequent data frames. The combination mode used is the trimmed mean with trimming fraction 0.2 and the output data are written to image master_dark.
makecal ^flash_frames ^flash_exposures flash_master
In this example a list of frames to be processed is passed to the program by indirection through an ASCII file flash_frames.dat, the corresponding exposure times are passed from the file flash_exposures.dat. This is probably the only safe method for entering images to this routine other than as in the above examples. Using wildcards for the file specifications will mean that the exposures cannot be associated correctly. Thus wildcards should not be used except when the input images have the same exposure times.

See also

Flash or dark calibration”, CALCOR.

Behaviour of parameters

Most parameters retain their current value as default. The "current" value is the value assigned on the last run of the application. If the application has not been run then the "intrinsic" defaults, as shown in the parameter help, apply. The exceptions to this rule are:

Retaining parameter values has the advantage of allowing you to define the default behaviour of the application but does mean that additional care needs to be taken when using the application on new datasets/different devices, or after a break of sometime. The intrinsic default behaviour of the application may be restored by using the RESET keyword on the command line.

Certain parameters (LOGTO, LOGFILE and USESET) have global values. These global values will always take precedence, except when an assignment is made on the command line. Global values may be set and reset using the CCDSETUP and CCDCLEAR commands.

The parameter EXPOSE will not be used if the USEEXT parameter is set TRUE. In this case the necessary values will be extracted from the CCDPACK extensions of the input images.

Implementation Status: