A spatial-color layout feature for representing galaxy images


We propose a spatial-color layout feature specially designed for galaxy images. Inspired by findings on galaxy formation and evolution from Astronomy, the proposed feature captures both global and local morphological information of galaxies. In addition, our feature is scale and rotation invariant. By developing a hashing-based approach with the proposed feature, we implemented an efficient galaxy image retrieval system on a dataset with more than 280 thousand galaxy images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey project. Given a query image, the proposed system can rank-order all galaxies from the dataset according to relevance in only 35 milliseconds on a single PC. To the best of our knowledge, this is one of the first works on galaxy-specific feature design and large-scale galaxy image retrieval. We evaluated the performance of the proposed feature and the galaxy image retrieval system using web user annotations, showing that the proposed feature outperforms other classic features, including HOG, Gist, LBP, and Color-histograms. The success of our retrieval system demonstrates the advantages of leveraging computer vision techniques in Astronomy problems.

In IEEE Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision (WACV), 2014.