Shape Index Descriptors Applied to Texture-Based Galaxy Analysis

Kim Steenstrup Pedersen, Kristoffer Stensbo-Smidt, Andrew Zirm, Christian Igel; Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), 2013, pp. 2440-2447


A texture descriptor based on the shape index and the accompanying curvedness measure is proposed, and it is evaluated for the automated analysis of astronomical image data. A representative sample of images of low-redshift galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) serves as a testbed. The goal of applying texture descriptors to these data is to extract novel information about galaxies; information which is often lost in more traditional analysis. In this study, we build a regression model for predicting a spectroscopic quantity, the specific star-formation rate (sSFR). As texture features we consider multi-scale gradient orientation histograms as well as multi-scale shape index histograms, which lead to a new descriptor. Our results show that we can successfully predict spectroscopic quantities from the texture in optical multi-band images. We successfully recover the observed bi-modal distribution of galaxies into quiescent and star-forming. The state-ofthe-art for predicting the sSFR is a color-based physical model. We significantly improve its accuracy by augmenting the model with texture information. This study is the first step towards enabling the quantification of physical galaxy properties from imaging data alone.

Related Material

author = {Pedersen, Kim Steenstrup and Stensbo-Smidt, Kristoffer and Zirm, Andrew and Igel, Christian},
title = {Shape Index Descriptors Applied to Texture-Based Galaxy Analysis},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)},
month = {December},
year = {2013}