Instrument Science Report ACS 2010-01

Pixel-based correction for Charge Transfer Inefficiency in the Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys

Richard Massey, Chris Stoughton, Alexie Leauthaud, Jason Rhodes, Anton Koekemoer, Richard Ellis, and Edgar Shaghoulian


Charge Transfer Inefficiency (CTI) due to radiation damage above the Earth's atmosphere creates spurious trailing in Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images. Radiation damage also creates unrelated warm pixels - but these happen to be perfect for measuring CTI. We model CTI in the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS)/Wide Field Channel and construct a physically motivated correction scheme. This operates on raw data, rather than secondary science products, by returning individual electrons to pixels from which they were unintentionally dragged during readout. We apply our correction to images from the HST Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS), successfully reducing the CTI trails by a factor of #30 everywhere in the CCD and at all flux levels. We quantify changes in galaxy photometry, astrometry and shape. The remarkable 97 per cent level of correction is more than sufficient to enable a (forthcoming) reanalysis of downstream science products and the collection of larger surveys.

Published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 401, pp. 371-384 (2010).

The paper can be accessed at the ADS website.