fluxscale(vis, caltable='', fluxtable='', reference='', transfer='', listfile='', append=False, refspwmap=[-1], gainthreshold=-1.0, antenna='', timerange='', scan='', incremental=False, fitorder=1, display=False)[source]

Bootstrap the flux density scale from standard calibrators

[Description] [Examples] [Development] [Details]

  • vis (path) - Name of input visibility file

  • caltable (string=’’) - Name of input calibration table

  • fluxtable (string=’’) - Name of output, flux-scaled calibration table (required)

  • reference (stringVec=’’) - Reference field name(s) (transfer flux scale FROM)

  • transfer (stringVec=’’) - Transfer field name(s) (transfer flux scale TO), '' -> all

  • listfile (string=’’) - Name of listfile that contains the fit information. Default is ‘’ (no file).

  • append (bool=False) - Append solutions?

  • refspwmap (intVec=[-1]) - Scale across spectral window boundaries

  • gainthreshold (double=-1.0) - Threshold (fractional deviation from the median) on gain amplitudes to be used in the flux scale calculation

  • antenna (string=’’) - Select data based on antenna/baseline

    antenna != ''
    • timerange (string=’’) - Select data based on time range

    • scan (string=’’) - Scan number range

  • incremental (bool=False) - Incremental caltable

  • fitorder (int=1) - Order of spectral fitting

  • display (bool=False) - Display some statistics of flux scaling


flux (dict) - fitted flux density and error estimates, for every field and SPW, together with a list of SPW IDs, names and center frequencies


Bootstrap the flux density scale from standard calibrators.

Summary: The ‘G’ or ‘T’ solutions obtained by gaincal for calibrators for which the flux density was unknown and assumed to be 1 Jansky are correct in a time- and antenna- relative sense, but are mis-scaled by a factor equal to the inverse of the square root of the true flux density. This scaling can be corrected by enforcing the constraint that mean gain amplitudes determined from calibrators of unknown flux density should be the same as determined from those with known flux densities. The fluxscale task exists for this purpose.

Before running fluxscale, one must have first run setjy for the reference sources and run a gaincal that includes reference and transfer fields. The reference field(s) should be standard flux density calibrators for which an accurate flux density (or better, a model image, especially if it is a resolved source) is known. The transfer fields are all other calibrators, typically point sources (to a good approximation), and for which actual flux density is unknown. When running fluxscale, the input caltable will be scaled and written out into the output fluxtable such that the correct scaling will be applied to the transfer sources. The fluxtable parameter is required, and if it is already present, it will not be overwritten. The user can set append =True to append the flux-scaled results to the existing table. If incremental=True, a simple incremental calibration table will be generated that contains a single antenna-based solution per field embodying the required scale factors. If incremental=False, a copy of the input caltable is generated, with the required scale factors applied to the transfer fields.

fluxscale applies the constraint that net system gain was, in fact, independent of field, time, and direction, on average, and that field-dependent gains in the input caltable are solely a result of the unknown flux densities for the calibrators. Using time-averaged gain amplitudes, the ratio between each ordinary calibrator and the flux density calibrator(s) is formed for each antenna and polarization (which they have in common). The average of this ratio over antennas and polarizations yields a correction factor that is applied to the ordinary calibrators’ gains.

The square of the gain correction factor for each calibrator and spw is the presumed flux density of that calibrator (if the assumed flux density when solving was 1 Jy), and is reported in the logger. The errors reported with this value reflect the scatter in gain ratio over antennas and polarizations, divided by the square root of the number of antennas and polarizations available. If the flux densities for multiple spws exist, fitted spectral index and (for nspw>2) curvature are also reported. The fit is done for

\(log(S_\nu) = a_o + a_1*(log(\nu/\nu_0)) + a_2*(log(\nu/\nu_0))**2\).

The reference frequency, \(\nu_0\) (the mean of \(log(\nu)\)) is reported in the logger along with the flux density at that frequency. The fit results are also reported in the returned Python dictionary which takes the form:

{fieldIdstr: {spwIdstr: {'fluxd':array([I,Q,U,V]),
                         'fluxdErr': corresponding errors,
                         'numSol': corresponding no. of solutions}
              'fieldName': field name,
              'fitFluxd': fitted flux density at the reference frequency,
              'fitFluxdErr': fitted flux density error,
              'fitRefFreq': reference frequency,
              'covarMat': covariance matrix for the fit,
              'spidx': a_0, a_1, a_2
              'spidxerr': errors in a_0,a_1, a_2}
 'freq': (center) spw frequencies
 'spwID': list of spw IDs,
 'spwName': list of spw names}

where fieldIdstr and spwIdstr are field Id and spw Id in string type, respectively. The ‘spidx’ coefficients, \(a_0\), \(a_1\), and \(a_2\) are the \(log(S_{\nu=\nu0})\), the spectral index, and the curvature, respectively. If only a single spectral window is present, no fitting is performed but fitFluxd and fitRefFreq are filled with the values from fluxd and freq, respectively.

The calibrator models are currently not revised within the MS to reflect the flux densities derived by fluxscale. Use setjy to set these, if necessary.

The constant gain constraint is usually a reasonable assumption for the electronic systems on typical antennas. It is important that external time- and/or elevation-dependent effects are separately accounted for when solving for the gain solution supplied to fluxscale, e.g., gain curves, opacity, etc. (see gencal).

The fluxscale results can also be degraded by poor pointing during the observation. The parameters, gainthreshold and antenna (and timerange/scan) can be used to control the data to be used in the flux derivation in such cases. Please note that, regardless of the antennas that are selected for deriving the scaling, the scaling solution is applied to all valid (non-flagged) antennas. The gainthreshold parameter sets the range of the input gain to be used in terms of the fractional deviation from their median values (per field, per spectral window).

If the reference and transfer fields were observed in different spectral windows, the refspwmap parameter may be used to achieve the scaling calculation across spectral window boundaries. In general, this will yield less accurate flux density calibration.

The fluxscale task can be executed on either ‘G’ or ‘T’ solutions, but it should only be used on one of these types if solutions exist for both and one was solved relative to the other (use fluxscale only on the first of the two).


ALERT: ‘GSPLINE’ solutions from gaincal are not supported in fluxscale.

Using resolved calibrators

If the flux density calibrator is resolved, the assumption that it is a point source will cause solutions on outlying antennas to be biased in amplitude. In turn, the fluxscale step will be biased. In general, it is best to use a model for the calibrator, but if such a model is not available, it is important to limit the solution on the flux density calibrator to only the subset of antennas that have baselines short enough that the point-source assumption is valid. Such a subset of antennas can be selected for the fluxscale calculation using the antenna parameter, which uses standard antenna-selection syntax. Specifying something in antenna also reveals timerange and scan selection parameters which enable more specific selection on these axes.

Alternatively, limiting the fluxscale calculation to antennas on unresolved baselines can be effected by using antenna and uvrange selection when solving for the flux density calibrator in gaincal. Please see the Examples section.


Given a ‘G’ table, ‘cal.G’, containing solutions for a flux density calibrator, 3C286, and for two fields with unknown flux densities (0234+285 and 0323+022):

          caltable='cal.G',                  # Select input table
          fluxtable= 'cal.Gflx',             # Write scaled solutions to cal.Gflx
          incremental=True,                  # Generate an incremental output table
          reference='3C286',                 # 3C286 = flux calibrator
          transfer='0234+258, 0323+022')     # Select calibrators to scale

The output table, cal.Gflx, contains per-field, per-spw scaling factors alone to be used along with the input gain table cal.G in subsequent operations, e.g., applycal. If incremental=False had been used, the output fluxtable should be used in place of the input caltable in subsequent operations.

If transfer of the flux density scale among spws is required, use refspwmap. For example:

          caltable='cal.G',                  # Select input table
          fluxtable= 'cal.Gflx',             # Write scaled solutions to cal.Gflx
          reference='3C286',                 # 3C286 = flux calibrator
          transfer='0234+258,0323+022'       # Select calibrators to scale
          refspwmap=[0,0,0])                 # Use spwid 0 scaling for spwids 1 & 2

will use the reference field gain amplitudes from spw=0 to scale the transfer field gain amplitudes in spws 0, 1 & 2.

If the flux density calibrator is resolved, and an adequate model is not available, use antenna and uvrange selection in gaincal to limit the gain solutions to baselines satisfying the point-source assumption. For example, solve for the flux density calibrator (3C286) only, with limited data:

        caltable='cal.G',        # write solutions to cal.G
        field='3C286'            # Select the flux density calibrator
        selectdata=True,         # Expand other selectors
        antenna='0~7',           #  antennas 0-7,
        uvrange='0~15klambda',   #  limit uvrange to 0-15klambda
        solint=90)               # on 90s timescale

Then solve for the other (presumably point-like) calibrators using all antennas and baselines, and append to the same caltable:

        caltable='cal.G',           # write solutions to cal.G
        field='0234+258,0323+022',  # point-like calibrators with unknown f.d.
        append=True)                   # append to the same table

Finally, run fluxscale on the aggregate caltable:

          caltable='cal.G',      # Input table with unscaled cal solutions
          fluxtable='cal.Gflx',  # Write scaled solutions to cal.Gflx
          reference='3C286',     # Use 3c286 as ref with limited uvrange
          transfer='0234+285,0323+022')   # Transfer scaling

No additional development details

Parameter Details

Detailed descriptions of each function parameter

vis (path) - Name of input visibility file
Default: none
Example: vis=’ngc5921.ms’
caltable (string='') - Name of input calibration table
Default: none
Example: caltable=’ngc5921.gcal’. This cal
table was obtained from task gaincal.=
fluxtable (string='') - Name of output, flux-scaled calibration table (required)
Default: none
Example: fluxtable=’ngc5921.gcal2’
The gains in this table have been adjusted by the
derived flux density each calibrator. The
MODEL_DATA column has NOT been updated for the
flux density of the calibrator. Use setjy to do
this if it is a point source.
reference (stringVec='') - Reference field name(s) (transfer flux scale FROM)
Default: none
Example: reference=’1328+307’
The names of the fields with a known flux
densities or visibilities that have been placed
in the MODEL column by setjy or ft for a model
not in the CASA system. The syntax is similar to
field. Hence field index or names can be used.
transfer (stringVec='') - Transfer field name(s) (transfer flux scale TO)
Default: ‘’ (all sources in caltable that are not
specified as reference sources. Do not include
unknown target sources)
The names of the fields with unknown flux
densities. These should be point-like calibrator
sources The syntax is similar to field. Hence
source index or names can be used.
Examples: transfer=’1445+099, 3C84’; transfer
= ‘0,4’
NOTE: All fields in reference and transfer must
have solutions in the caltable.
listfile (string='') - Name of listfile that contains the fit information.
Default: ‘’ (no fit listfile will be created)
The list file contains the flux density, flux
density error, S/N, and number of solutions (all
antennas and feeds) for each spectral window.
NOTE: The nominal spectral window frequencies
will be included in the future.
append (bool=False) - Append fluxscaled solutions to the fluxtable?
Default: False (the fluxtable must not exist)
Options: False|True
refspwmap (intVec=[-1]) - Vector of spectral windows enabling scaling across
spectral windows
Default: [-1] (none)
Example with 4 spectral windows:
If the reference fields were observed only in
spw=1 and 3, and the transfer fields were
observed in all 4 spws (0,1,2,3), specify
refspwmap=[1,1,3,3]. This will ensure that
transfer fields observed in spws 0,1,2,3 will
be referenced to reference field solutions
only in spw 1 or 3.
gainthreshold (double=-1.0) - Threshold in the input gain solutions to be used in fractional deviation from median values.
Default: -1 (no threshold)
Example: gainthreshold=0.15 (only used the
gain solutions within 15% (inclusive) of the
median gain value (per field and per spw).
antenna (string='') - Select data based on antenna/baseline
Subparameter of antenna
Default: ‘’ (all)
If antenna string is a non-negative integer, it
is assumed an antenna index, otherwise, it is
assumed as an antenna name

antenna=’5&6’; baseline between antenna
index 5 and index 6.
antenna=’VA05&VA06’; baseline between VLA
antenna 5 and 6.
antenna=’5&6;7&8’; baselines with
indices 5-6 and 7-8
antenna=’5’; all baselines with antenna index
antenna=’05’; all baselines with antenna
number 05 (VLA old name)
antenna=’5,6,10’; all baselines with antennas
5,6,10 index numbers
timerange (string='') - Select data based on time range
Subparameter of antenna
Default = ‘’ (all)
timerange =
(Note: if YYYY/MM/DD is missing date defaults
to first day in data set.)
timerange=’09:14:0~09:54:0’ picks 40 min on
first day
timerange= ‘25:00:00~27:30:00’ picks 1 hr to 3
hr 30min on NEXT day
timerange=’09:44:00’ pick data within one
integration of time
timerange=’>10:24:00’ data after this time
scan (string='') - Scan number range
Subparameter of antenna
Default: ‘’ = all
incremental (bool=False) - Create an incremental caltable containing only gain
correction factors ( flux density= 1/(gain correction factor)**2)?
Default: False
Options: False|True
Example: incremental=True (output a caltable
containing flux scale factors.)
NOTE: If you use the incremental option, note
that BOTH this incremental fluxscale table AND an
amplitude vs. time table should be supplied in
fitorder (int=1) - Polynomial order of the spectral fitting for valid flux
Default: 1
It falls back to a lower fitorder if there are
not enough solutions to fit with the requested
display (bool=False) - Display statistics and/or spectral fitting results.
Default: False
Options: False|True
Currently only a histogram of the correction
factors to derive the final flux density for each
spectral window will be plotted.