Spitzer Documentation & Tools
Aperture Photometry Tool (APT)

Purpose: User-friendly, graphical-user-interface software for viewing FITS files and performing aperture photometry.

Author: Russ Laher (SSC)
Date Contributed: 17 Apr 2012
System Requirements: Java

Information and Download

APT home page
Download APT
APT documentation

Aperture Photometry Tool (APT) is software for astronomers and students interested in manually exploring the photometric qualities of astronomical images. It is a graphical user interface (GUI) designed to allow the image data associated with aperture photometry calculations for point and extended sources to be visualized, and, therefore, more effectively analyzed. The finely tuned layout of the GUI, along with judicious use of color coding and alerting, is intended to give maximal user utility and convenience. Simply mouse-clicking on a source in the displayed image will instantly draw a circular or elliptical aperture and sky annulus around the source, and compute the source intensity and its uncertainty, along with several commonly used measures of the local sky background and its variability. The results are displayed and can be optionally saved to an aperture-photometry-table file and plotted on graphs in various ways using functions available in the software. APT is geared toward processing sources in a small number of images, and is not suitable for bulk processing a large number of images, unlike other aperture photometry packages (e.g., SExtractor). However, APT does have a convenient source-list tool that enables calculations for a large number of detections in a given image. The source-list tool can be run either in automatic mode to generate an aperture photometry table quickly, or in manual mode to permit inspection and adjustment of the calculation for each individual detection. APT displays a variety of useful graphs with just the push of a button, including image histogram, x and y aperture slices, source scatter plot, sky scatter plot, sky histogram, radial profile, curve of growth, and aperture-photometry-table scatter plots and histograms. APT has many functions for customizing the calculations, including outlier rejection, pixel "picking" and "zapping", and a selection of source and sky models. The radial-profile-interpolation source model, which is accessed via the radial-profile-plot panel, allows recovery of source intensity from pixels with missing data, and can be especially beneficial in crowded fields.