SCUBA-2: Iterative map-making with the sub-millimetre user reduction facility

Edward L. Chapin, David S. Berry, Andrew G. Gibb, Tim Jenness, Douglas Scott, Remo P.J. Tilanus, Frossie Economou, Wayne S. Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

231 Scopus citations


The Submillimetre Common User Bolometer Array 2 (SCUBA-2) is an instrument operating on the 15-m James ClerkMaxwell Telescope, nominally consisting of 5120 bolometers in each of two simultaneous imaging bands centred over 450 and 850 μm. The camera is operated by scanning across the sky and recording data at a rate of 200 Hz. As the largest of a newgeneration of multiplexed kilopixel bolometer cameras operating in the (sub)millimetre, SCUBA-2 data analysis represents a significant challenge. We describe the production of maps using SMURF (Sub-Millimetre User Reduction Facility) in which we have adopted a fast, iterative approach to map-making that enables data reduction on single, modern, high-end desktop computers, with execution times that are typically shorter than the observing times. SMURF is used in an automated setting, both at the telescope for real-time feedback to observers and for the production of science products for the JCMT Science Archive at the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre. Three detailed case studies are used to: (i) explore convergence properties of the map-maker using simple prior constraints (Uranus-a point source); (ii) achieve the white-noise limit for faint point-source studies (extragalactic blank-field survey of the Lockman Hole); and (iii) demonstrate that our strategy is capable of recovering angular scales comparable to the size of the array footprint (approximately 5 arcmin) for bright extended sources (star-forming region M17).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2545-2573
Number of pages29
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 21 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Methods:data analysis
  • Methods:observational
  • Submillimetre:general
  • Techniques:image processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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