Learning to Denoise Astronomical Images with U-nets [article]

Antonia Vojtekova, Maggie Lieu, Ivan Valtchanov, Bruno Altieri, Lyndsay Old, Qifeng Chen, Filip Hroch
2020 arXiv   pre-print
Astronomical images are essential for exploring and understanding the universe. Optical telescopes capable of deep observations, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, are heavily oversubscribed in the Astronomical Community. Images also often contain additive noise, which makes de-noising a mandatory step in post-processing the data before further data analysis. In order to maximise the efficiency and information gain in the post-processing of astronomical imaging, we turn to machine learning. We
more » ... propose Astro U-net, a convolutional neural network for image de-noising and enhancement. For a proof-of-concept, we use Hubble space telescope images from WFC3 instrument UVIS with F555W and F606W filters. Our network is able to produce images with noise characteristics as if they are obtained with twice the exposure time, and with minimum bias or information loss. From these images, we are able to recover 95.9% of stars with an average flux error of 2.26%. Furthermore the images have, on average, 1.63 times higher signal-to-noise ratio than the input noisy images, equivalent to the stacking of at least 3 input images, which means a significant reduction in the telescope time needed for future astronomical imaging campaigns.
arXiv:2011.07002v1 fatcat:d4yv7xt2xzaoxdhi7qoouk5f7q