Maximum Entropy Deconvolution - Astronomy

Published June 2008

The images below illustrate Mira's Maximum Entropy Deconvolution ("MaxEnt") processing applied to an image of an astronomical object. The original image was acquired using a relatively small telescope through normally turbulent atmosphere, giving it inherently low spatial resolution. Maximum entropy processed image is compared with a high resolution image taken under excellent conditions by a large telescope at one of the world's premier observatories.

Original Image: Nebula NGC 40

The image has a Point Spread Function of 3 pixels FWHM (Full Width at Half Maximum), or about 2 arc seconds. This image has good S/N, making it a prime candidate for good results with Maximum Entropy Deconvolution. Note: The central star cannot be sharpened because it is saturated.

Mira MaxEnt Processed Image

This image was processed using Mira's Maximum entropy processing. One may question whether the Maximum Entropy method really  increases image detail or simply boosts contrast. How much of the improved detail is real? Compare this processed image with the high-resolution image below. Looking closely, you will see that details in the de-convolved image are confirmed by the high-resolution image, some of which cannot be seen in the original image.

High Resolution Image

NGC 40 comparison image obtained by the 3.5m WIYN Consortium telescope under sub arcsecond seeing at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona. This image has 3 to 4 times the spatial resolution of our original image at top. Image details revealed by MaxEnt Deconvolution are confirmed by this high-res image.


This animation shows all 3 images from above. The image processed with MaxEnt  reveals most of the detail shown by the true high-resolution image. As mentioned above, the central star was saturated in the image, so it could not be sharpened by Maximum entropy processing.

Original image courtesy Dr. William McLaughlin


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