The SDSS Photometric Window Function

The “window” function is the function that answers the question, “Is this point (RA, Dec) in an SDSS imaging survey image?” In practice, it’s easiest to think of the window function as a big look-up table. The determination of the window function is intrinsically intwined with the “resolve” algorithm, which determines the highest quality (“primary”) SDSS image that covers a region of the sky. For further low-level details, see the SDSS documentation of the resolve algorithm.

In the PyDL package, the window and mangle modules are used to access the window function. In this document we will concentrate on these questions:

  • Is a given point or set of points in the SDSS imaging region?

  • If a point is in the SDSS imaging, which specific image contains it?