MCSD Research on Image Enhancement Featured on SPIE Journal Cover
The work of an MCSD mathematician on the enhancement of Hubble space telescope imagery
is featured on the cover of the October 2006 issue of Optical Engineering, the flagship
research journal of the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE). Included
in this issue is the paper "APEX blind deconvolution of color Hubble space telescope
imagery and other astronomical data," by Alfred Carasso of the NIST Mathematical and
Computational Sciences Division. Carasso's APEX method is a technique for real-time blind
deconvolution of imagery (i.e., deblurring). It is blind in that the point-spread
function (psf) causing the blur is not known a priori. The psf is taken from a class of
2-D radially symmetric, bell-shaped, heavy-tailed, probability density functions whose
parameters are estimated automatically through an analysis of the image itself.
Once the psf is determined, the deconvolution proceeds by marching a diffusion equation
backwards in time (via the SECB method, also developed at NIST). The method relies on fast Fourier transforms
as its computational kernel, and hence is highly efficient, even for 1024x1024 color images.
The APEX method has been demonstrated to be effective on a wide range of imagery, including
medical images and scanning electron microscope images. This paper represents its first
application to color imagery and to astronomical data. The paper includes many striking
enhancements of Hubble and Kitt peak Observatory images, one example of which is displayed
on the journal's cover.
APEX processing significantly sharpens Andromeda galaxy image (right). True color 1024x1024 original (left) was obtained by Rector and Wolpa at the Kitt Peak National Observatory.