Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Applied Physics & Instrumentation

First Advisor

Dr. Niall Smith


The topic of this thesis is the design, development and deployment of a photometric analysis suite. This includes all the steps necessary to convert a raw astronomical image into a final differential light curve which describes the changes in intensity of a selected target over a given time period.

This thesis discusses the development of a suite of tools with the explicit aim of improving the quality of terrestrial based photometric measurements. This suite includes an automated data reduction pipeline (RealPhot) and associated distributed computing system {QuickiSHver) which have been developed to process the larger volumes of data which are a natural consequence of high time resolution data. The thesis also outlines the development of a novel analysis technique, LuckyPhot, which utilizes high time resolution imaging coupled with a frame selection technique to significantly improve the photometric precision of a given data set.

The development of each application is discussed along with the results of performance tests. RealPhot has been shown to comply well with other standards in the field while providing a high level data reduction pipeline. QuickiSilver is shown to display a superlinear speedup in a test scenario developed to characterise the performance of the system. LuckyPhot was applied to a number of data sets. Each data set was used to test the performance of the system; the highlight of the results was a data set in which the mean RMS error was reduced by 71.9%.

Access Level


Included in

Physics Commons