Given the useful responses to Jane’s question about spectral line analysis, here’s another query for the community. This one is about making large image mosaics and it comes from Adam Ginsburg, a grad student at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
I want to make a large-scale mosaic of the Galactic Plane covering 90-180 degrees x a few degrees. There are a few ways to do this:
- IRAF’s imcombine with offset=wcs is a quick and dirty path to a mosaic. It is very fast, but very inaccurate over large scales and it sometimes does things flat-out wrong.
- IDL’s hastrom and related astrolib utils generally work, but for large arrays (96000×4000 pixels) I’ve seen IDL just crash.
- IRSA’s Montage works well, but is slow and consumes a lot of hard drive space in the process of making mosaics. The setup is also kind of a pain; you need to make a lot of subdirectories and .tbl files in the process.
- SSC’s mopex must work quite well, but I just discovered it today and, like Montage, it has a learning curve.
So, I’m curious, what do others use? For example, what did GigaGalaxy Zoom use? If you’re trying to build a large near-IR finder chart using 2MASS, do you just go to montage? Does anyone have convenient wrapper scripts written up? Let’s hear it in the comments.