The IRAS Galaxy Atlas

A high resolution image atlas of the Galactic plane at 60 and 100 micron has been produced using the IRAS satellite data. Massively parallel computers located at Caltech provide the horsepower to perform the image reconstruction and resolution enhancement.


The Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) carried out a nearly complete survey of the infrared sky, and the survey data are important for the study of many astrophysical phenomena. However, many data sets at other wavelengths have higher resolutions than that of the co-added IRAS maps, and high resolution IRAS images are strongly desired both for their own information content and their usefulness in correlation studies.

The IGA images can be used in conjunction with the data from the upcoming DRAO HI line / 21cm continuum survey, and the FCRAO CO (1-0) line survey, both covering the Galactic plane with ~ 1 arcmin resolution.

The HIRES program was developed by the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) to produce high resolution (~ 1 arcmin) images from IRAS data using the Maximum Correlation Method (H.H. Aumann, J.W. Fowler and M. Melnyk, 1990, Astronomical Journal, 99, 1674).

We ported HIRES to the Intel Paragon, a massively parallel supercomputer, which enabled the project to map the Galactic plane at 60 and 100 micron.

Images produced from the MCM algorithm sometimes suffer from visible striping and ringing artifacts. Correcting detector gain offsets and using a Burg entropy metric in the reconstruction scheme were found to be effective in suppressing these artifacts.

The processing is now complete and the images are being prepared for delivery to the National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC).

Demo Images



3200 x 2400 (13.3 deg x 10 deg), 461 KB JPEG. High resolution image (~ 1 arcmin) of the Orion molecular cloud at 60 micron, shown at Supercomputing '94, as a demonstration displayed with the 8 ft x 6 ft PowerWall, built by the University of Minnesota, SGI and IBM. Production took 300 node-hours on the Intel Paragon, operated by Caltech for the Concurrent Supercomputing Consortium. Data came from the IRAS survey.



5521 x 2161 (23 deg x 9 deg), 566 KB JPEG.




  • IPAC Infrared Processing and Analysis Center
  • SRL Space Radiation Lab
  • CACR Center for Advanced Computing Research
  • JPL Jet Propulsion Lab
  • NSSDC National Space Science Data Center IRAS archive
  • NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration