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Paper: QLWFPC2: Parallel-Processing Quick-Look WFPC2 Stellar Photometry Based on the Message Passing Interface
Volume: 314, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XIII
Page: 678
Authors: Mighell, K.J.
Abstract: I describe a new parallel-processing stellar photometry code called QLWFPC2 ( which is designed to do quick-look analysis of two entire WFPC2 observations from the Hubble Space Telescope in under 5 seconds using a fast Beowulf cluster with a Gigabit-Ethernet local network. This program is written in ANSI C and uses MPICH implementation of the Message Passing Interface from the Argonne National Laboratory for the parallel-processing communications, the CFITSIO library (from HEASARC at NASA's GSFC) for reading the standard FITS files from the HST Data Archive, and the Parameter Interface Library (from the INTEGRAL Science Data Center) for the IRAF parameter-file user interface. QLWFPC2 running on 4 processors takes about 2.4 seconds to analyze the WFPC2 archive datasets u37ga407r.c0.fits (F555W; 300 s) and u37ga401r.c0.fits (F814W; 300 s) of M54 (NGC 6715) which is the bright massive globular cluster near the center of the nearby Sagittarius dwarf spheroidal galaxy. The analysis of these HST observations of M54 lead to the serendipitous discovery of more than 50 new bright variable stars in the central region of M54. Most of the candidate variables stars are found on the PC1 images of the cluster center -- a region where no variables have been reported by previous ground-based studies of variables in M54. This discovery is an example of how QLWFPC2 can be used to quickly explore the time domain of observations in the HST Data Archive.
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