CORA: Emission Line Fitting with Maximum Likelihood
Abstract: The advent of pipeline-processed data both from space- and ground-based observatories often disposes of the need of full-fledged data reduction software with its associated steep learning curve. In many cases, a simple tool doing just one task, and doing it right, is all one wishes. In this spirit we introduce CORA, a line fitting tool based on the maximum likelihood technique, which has been developed for the analysis of emission line spectra with low count numbers and has successfully been used in several publications. CORA uses a rigorous application of Poisson statistics. From the assumption of Poissonian noise we derive the probability for a model of the emission line spectrum to represent the measured spectrum. The likelihood function is used as a criterion for optimizing the parameters of the theoretical spectrum and a fixed point equation is derived allowing an efficient way to obtain line fluxes. As an example we demonstrate the functionality of the program with an X-ray spectrum of Capella obtained with the Low Energy Transmission Grating Spectrometer (LETGS) on board the Chandra observatory and choose the analysis of the Ne IX triplet around 13.5 Å.
Credit: Jan-Uwe Ness, Rainer Wichmann