Boolean Search Syntax

Marvin Queries use a pseudo-natural language SQL syntax. This is a short form version of SQL statements used to query databases. SQL statements generally are of the form select parameters from table join other tables where filter conditions. This syntax is designed to simplify how much SQL you need to write. Rather than submitting the full SQL statement, you submit only a simplified where clause and an optional list of properties to return. This eliminates the need to have detailed knowledge of the MaNGA database schema, table design, available columns, and the keys needed to join the tables.

String Construction

The syntax for Marvin Query where clauses is a boolean search string. Boolean search strings consist of a parameter-operand-value combination (e.g., a > 5), where

  • parameter is the variable name,

  • operand must be ==, =, !=, <, <=, >=, or >, and

    • == finds exact matches whereas = finds elements that contain the value.

  • value can be a float, integer, or string.

    • Strings with spaces must be enclosed in quotes.

    • * acts a wildcard.

These parameter-operand-value combinations can be joined with the boolean operands (in order of descending precedence):

  1. not

  2. and

  3. or

and grouped with parentheses (). For example,:

a = 5 or b = 7 and not c = 7

is equivalent to:

a = 5 or (b = 7 and (not c = 7))

Special Operands

In addition to the standard operands, there are special operands as well.

  • between: selects within a range, e.g. a between 1 and 2, which is equivalent to a >= 1 and a <= 2

  • &: a bitwise operator to perform bitwise and selections, e.g. a & 256, which selects rows where the maskbit value a includes 256.

  • & ~: a not bitwise operator, e.g. a & ~256, which selects rows where the maskbit value a does not include 256.

Marvin provides two special function syntax strings to provide specific queries, the radial function, and the npergood function.

The radial function allows for cone searches to be performed around a given RA, Dec. The syntax is radial(RA, Dec, radius). RA and Dec are given in decimal degrees and radius is in units of degrees. The radial function can be combined with other conditions:

# create filter to perform a radial cone search around a given RA, Dec point
my_filter = 'radial(232.5447, 48.6902, 0.5)'

# combine it with another selection on redshift
my_filter = 'nsa.z < 0.1 and radial(232.5447, 48.6902, 0.5)'

The npergood function takes the form npergood(condition) operand value, where condition can be a standard single condition of parameter operand value. The npergood condition equates to “galaxies where the number of spaxels that meet a given condition is above some percentage threshold.” For example:

# create an npergood filter.
my_filter = 'npergood(emline_gflux_ha_6564 > 25) > 20'

selects galaxies that have H-alpha flux values > 25 in more than 20% of their spaxels. The npergood condition cannot be combined with other conditions.

Parameter Names

In MaNGA, parameter names have hierarchical dotted field names, and are structured as schema.table.parameter, e.g. mangadatadb.cube.plateifu. If a parameter name only exists in one column in one database table, it is considered unique.

# The NSA Sersic log stellar mass (sersic_logmass) is a unique parameter in the NSA table
my_filter  = 'sersic_logmass < 1'

Many parameters are not unique. In this case, you must go one level up and specify the table name as well. It is best practice however to adopt the syntax of table.parameter to ensure a fully unique parameter selection.

# RA, Dec are not unique parameter names
my_filter = 'ra > 180'

query = Query(search_filter=my_filter)
MarvinError: Could not set parameters. Multiple entries found for key.  Be more specific: 'ra matches multiple parameters in the lookup table: mangasampledb.nsa.ra, mangadatadb.cube.ra'.

# Correct filter
my_filter = 'cube.ra > 180'

Example SQL Constructions

# Filter string
my_filter = "nsa.z < 0.02 and = 19*"

# Converts to

# SQL syntax
mangasampledb.nsa.z < 0.02 AND lower( LIKE lower('19%')
# Filter string
my_filter = 'cube.plate < 8000 and = 19 or not (nsa.z > 0.1 or not cube.ra > 225.)'

# Converts to
or_(and_(cube.plate<8000,, not_(or_(nsa.z>0.1, not_(cube.ra>225.))))

# SQL syntax
mangadatadb.cube.plate < 8000 AND lower( LIKE lower(('%' || '19' || '%'))
OR NOT (mangasampledb.nsa.z > 0.1 OR mangadatadb.cube.ra <= 225.0)
# Filter string
my_filter = 'nsa.z < 0.1 or (nsa.sersic_logmass between 9.5 and 11)'

# Converts to
or_(nsa.z<0.1, nsa.sersic_logmassbetween9.5and11)

# SQL syntax
(mangasampledb.nsa.z < 0.1 OR CAST(CASE WHEN (mangasampledb.nsa.sersic_mass > 0.0) THEN log(mangasampledb.nsa.sersic_mass) WHEN (mangasampledb.nsa.sersic_mass = 0.0) THEN 0.0 END AS FLOAT) BETWEEN 9.5 AND 11.0)

For more details on boolean search string syntax see the ` original SQLAlchemy-boolean-search documentation <>`_.