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December 20th, 1999

A Christmas Deconvolution Artifact???

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A Christmas Deconvolution Artifact???
Credit: Image courtesy of S. Claus (North Pole Research Institute) and CFHT

This unusual astronomical image was obtained with the CFHT on December 20th, 1999. Details on this optical frame include a large red character, believed to be Santa Claus, being kissed by a charming astronomer hugging a smaller astronomer. In the process of validating a new deconvolution algorithm developed elsewhere, we deconvolved this image of what we think is Santa Claus on his way to Hawaii. The result, seen on this image, is not satisfactory yet. The deconvolved image contains most of the features of the raw image. Both charming astronomers are recovered, but the large position shift in the final image is a problem. The pink ribbon is also recovered, but with a different shape and location. Santa Claus may also be present, to be confirmed, but with a lower contrast and more fuzziness. Photometry and colors are not preserved. Clearly, the deconvolution algorithm is not ready for astronomical usage!!!

Technical description: This image was obtained on December 20th, 1999, with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. Deconvolution of the image to enhance details was performed in Waimea after the annual Dewey Decimal Colloquium. For more info on this event contact Liz Bryson (

Disclaimer: nothing here should be taken seriously, apart of course from the two charming astronomers (Nadine Manset and Lisa Wells) part of CFHT's staff and the deconvolved version of Santa Claus (Pierre Martin), also at CFHT. The Dewey Colloquium is also a real event!

next week: Spectacular Mass Loss Events in Young Stars

editors: François Ménard & Jean-Charles Cuillandre
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CFHT is funded by the Governments of Canada and France, and by the University of Hawaii.