A new algorithm for difference image analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

147 Citations (Scopus)


In the context of difference image analysis (DIA), we present a new method for determining the convolution kernel matching a pair of images of the same field. Unlike the standard DIA technique which involves modelling the kernel as a linear combination of basis functions, we consider the kernel as a discrete pixel array and solve for the kernel pixel values directly using linear least squares. The removal of basis functions from the kernel model is advantageous for a number of compelling reasons. First, it removes the need for the user to specify such functions, which makes for a much simpler user application and avoids the risk of an inappropriate choice. Secondly, basis functions are constructed around the origin of the kernel coordinate system, which requires that the two images are perfectly aligned for an optimal result. The pixel kernel model is sufficiently flexible to correct for image misalignments, and in the case of a simple translation between images, image resampling becomes unnecessary. Our new algorithm can be extended to spatially varying kernels by solving for individual pixel kernels in a grid of image subregions and interpolating the solutions to obtain the kernel at any one pixel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L77-L81
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2008



  • Methods: statistical
  • Techniques: image processing
  • Techniques: photometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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