The IAU recommended photometric system for ultraviolet astronomy

Ana I. Gómez de Castro*, Noah Brosch, Daniela Bettoni, Leire Beitia-Antero, Paul Scowen, David Valls-Gabaud, Mikhail Sachkov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the current era when access to space is becoming easier and at a lower cost thanks to the standardised cubesat technology, numerous missions are expected to be launched to observe, particularly, at ultraviolet wavelengths. Given the reduced dimensions of the telescope that a cubesat can carry, most of these missions will be focused on photometric surveys of a reduced sample of targets of interest, and therefore each mission will define their own photometric bands according to their scientific objectives and orbital constraints. However, in order to provide a coherent view of the ultraviolet sky, the data should be post-processed under a common framework. In 2017, the IAU working group on ultraviolet astronomy identified the need to define such a common framework for the upcoming ultraviolet missions, and coordinated the definition of a standard set of photometric bands that could serve for homogenizing the current and future data. This paper presents the procedure adopted by the working group for the definition of the standard photometric system, that was approved by the IAU during the General Assembly Business Sessions held in August, 2021. The photometric system consists of seven bands, denoted as UV1-UV7, all included in the range 115 - 400 nm. Some of these bands are based on existing filters, while others have been defined as theoretical bands with constant throughput. This system is to be regarded as a set of synthetic bands for post-processing the data of any mission, and an example of its application to the SPARCS cubesat is also included. The photometric bands are publicly available and can be downloaded from .

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-195
Number of pages25
JournalExperimental Astronomy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Instrumentation: detectors
  • Methods: observational
  • Techniques: photometric
  • Ultraviolet: ISM
  • Ultraviolet: general


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