Montage Viewer: Introduction
The Montage Viewer, mViewer, is a command line application or visualizing FITS images, overlaying content (grids,
symbols., ... ) on them and creating PNG or JPEG files. It can be included in scripts or pipelines. The image of
M51 on the left was created with mViewer, with no manual retouching of the image.
mViewer has broad applicability for visualizing astronomical data. The following is a list of of its
most useful capabilities:
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- A range of data stretching algorithms, including a couple of custom stretches
based on the idea of histogram matching to a general model of astronomical
brightness distributions (log-trasformed gaussian histogram equalization).
- Gray/pseudo-color display of a single plane image with a number of color
- Full-color (three image) display with optional color enhancement.
- Coordinate grid overlays (any coordinate system, including Besselian/Julian
and Equinox selection).
- Astronomical catalog overlays with data in any coordinate system. Multiple
symbols and any color. Includes optional scaling of the symbols by flux /
magnitude based on any table column.
- Image metadata (outlines) overlays. Uses four corner data if the table
contains this. Otherwise trys to interpret tables columns as WCS
- Custom ad hoc markers and labels.
- Output as JPEG or PNG, including embedded AVM tags in JPEGs (e.g., for
export to WWT or for outreach uses).
The low-level mViewer functionality is a stand-alone program suitable for inclusion in scripts or as part of
a pipeline. It can also be folded together with Python wrapping code (and a couple of other Montage modules) to
as an interactive web service suitable for sites wanting to allow interaction with their image holdings.