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Adaptive moments are the second moments of the object intensity, measured using a particular scheme designed to have near-optimal signal-to-noise ratio. Moments are measured using a radial weight function interactively adapted to the shape (ellipticity) and size of the object. This elliptical weight function has a signal-to-noise advantage over axially symmetric weight functions. In principle there is an optimal (in terms of signal-to-noise) radial shape for the weight function, which is related to the light profile of the object itself. In practice a Gaussian with size matched to that of the object is used, and is nearly optimal. Details can be found in Bernstein & Jarvis (2002).
The outputs included in the SDSS data release are the following: