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AutoSpec: fast automated spectral extraction software for IFU data cubes

Griffiths, Alex; Conselice, Christopher J.

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Alex Griffiths

Christopher J. Conselice


With the ever-growing popularity of integral field unit (IFU) spectroscopy, countless observations are being performed over multiple object systems such as blank fields and galaxy clusters. With this, an increasing amount of time is being spent extracting one-dimensional object spectra from large three-dimensional data cubes. However, a great deal of information available within these data cubes is overlooked in favor of photometrically based spatial information. Here we present a novel yet simple approach of optimal source identification utilizing the wealth of information available within an IFU data cube, rather than relying on ancillary imaging. Through the application of these techniques, we show that we are able to obtain object spectra comparable to deep photometry-weighted extractions without the need for ancillary imaging. Further, implementing our custom-designed algorithms can improve the signal-to-noise ratio of extracted spectra and successfully deblend sources from nearby contaminants. This will be a critical tool for future IFU observations of blank and deep fields, especially over large areas where automation is necessary. We implement these techniques in the Python-based spectral extraction software, AutoSpec, which is available via GitHub at and Zenodo at


Griffiths, A., & Conselice, C. J. (2018). AutoSpec: fast automated spectral extraction software for IFU data cubes. Astrophysical Journal, 869(1), Article 68.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 1, 2018
Online Publication Date Dec 13, 2018
Publication Date Dec 10, 2018
Deposit Date Jan 22, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jan 22, 2019
Journal The Astrophysical Journal
Print ISSN 0004-637X
Publisher American Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 869
Issue 1
Article Number 68
Keywords Space and Planetary Science; Astronomy and Astrophysics
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