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The PSF, see Point Spread Function, and galaxy radial profiles are generally defined on
an ellipse so in this section first defining an ellipse on a pixelated 2D
surface is discussed. Labeling the major axis of an ellipse \(a\), and
its minor axis with \(b\), the *axis ratio* is defined as:
\(q\equiv b/a\). The major axis of an ellipse can be aligned in any
direction, therefore the angle of the major axis with respect to the
horizontal axis of the image is defined to be the *position angle* of
the ellipse and in this book, we show it with \(\theta\).

Our aim is to put a radial profile of any functional form \(f(r)\)
over an ellipse. Hence we need to associate a radius/distance to every
point in space. Let’s define the radial distance \(r_{el}\) as the
distance on the major axis to the center of an ellipse which is located at
\(i_c\) and \(i_c\) (in other words \(r_{el}\equiv{a}\)). We
want to find \(r_{el}\) of a point located at \((i,j)\) (in the
image coordinate system) from the center of the ellipse with axis ratio
\(q\) and position angle \(\theta\). First the coordinate system
is rotated^{103}
by \(\theta\) to get the new rotated coordinates of that point
\((i_r,j_r)\):

$$i_r(i,j)=+(i_c-i)\cos\theta+(j_c-j)\sin\theta$$ $$j_r(i,j)=-(i_c-i)\sin\theta+(j_c-j)\cos\theta$$

Recall that an ellipse is defined by \((i_r/a)^2+(j_r/b)^2=1\) and that we defined \(r_{el}\equiv{a}\). Hence, multiplying all elements of the the ellipse definition with \(r_{el}^2\) we get the elliptical distance at this point point located: \(r_{el}=\sqrt{i_r^2+(j_r/q)^2}\). To place the radial profiles explained below over an ellipse, \(f(r_{el})\) is calculated based on the functional radial profile desired.

MakeProfiles builds the profile starting from the nearest element (pixel in
an image) in the dataset to the profile center. The profile value is
calculated for that central pixel using monte carlo integration, see
Sampling from a function. The next pixel is the next nearest neighbor
to the central pixel as defined by \(r_{el}\). This process goes on
until the profile is fully built upto the trunctation radius. This is done
fairly efficiently using a breadth first parsing
strategy^{104}
which is implemented through an ordered linked list.

Using this approach, we build the profile by expanding the circumference. Not one more extra pixel has to be checked (the calculation of \(r_{el}\) from above is not cheap in CPU terms). Another consequence of this strategy is that extending MakeProfiles to three dimensions becomes very simple: only the neighbors of each pixel have to be changed. Everything else after that (when the pixel index and its radial profile have entered the linked list) is the same, no matter the number of dimensions we are dealing with.

Do not confuse the signs of \(sin\) with the rotation matrix defined in Warping basics. In that equation, the point is rotated, here the coordinates are rotated and the point is fixed.

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GNU Astronomy Utilities 0.4 manual, September 2017.