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XMM-Newton Guest Observer Facility


Science Analysis System (SAS)
Extended Source Analysis Software (ESAS)
Post SAS data analysis
Data Analysis with Hera
Data Analysis with Scripts
Other Specialized Software Tools
XMM-Newton Source Naming Convention
Other Publication Guidelines

  • SAS - The XMM-Newton Science Analysis System

    The basic reduction of XMM-Newton data is provided by the Science Analysis System (SAS) software package integrated and maintained at the Science Operations Center (SOC) (see the general SOC analysis portal for specific links).

    The SAS provides tasks to produce calibrated photon event files from the Observation Data Format (ODF) files supplied to the user as well as some basic analysis tools. These include data filtering and extraction, production of RMFs and ARFs for spectral analysis, and source detection routines.

    You can download the SAS installation file either from the SOC or the GOF's US mirror site. You should refer to both the detailed installation instructions, and the list of required helper applications that also must be installed.

    If you aren't sure which version of the SAS you need, a handy conversion table is available.

    A current set of the calibration files require a separate installation.

  • Extended Source Analysis Software (SAS)

    The XMM-ESAS - Extended Source Analysis Software package for creating model background spectra and images is part of SAS. Additional information, calibration data base files, and a manual are available from the GOF or SOC). XMM-ESAS allows the user to create EPIC MOS background spectra and images for user-defined regions of the detectors.

    The SAS was not designed for high level scientific analysis such as spectral fitting and temporal analysis. However, the SAS product files are designed to OGIP standards, so theoretically any high-level analysis package for use in high-energy astrophysics is capable of processing XMM-Newton data. For example:

  • Post SAS data analysis

    The SAS was not designed for high level scientific analysis such as spectral fitting and temporal analysis. However, the SAS product files are designed to OGIP standards, so theoretically any high-level analysis package for use in high-energy astrophysics is capable of processing XMM-Newton data. For example:

    • HEASoft from the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC).
    • CIAO from the Chandra X-ray Observatory Center (CXC).

  • XMM-Newton Analysis Within The Hera Environment

    The HEASARC Hera facility provides a way to run up-to-date SAS tasks without local SAS installation or the CCF calibration files.

    Note that Hera is a multi-mission analysis platform based on the HEASoft analysis package (a combination of the HEASARC Ftools and Xanadu software packages). It is integrated with the Browse archive access tool. For more complete descriptions of XMM data processing and analysis with Hera, please see the ABC Guides for the Hera GUI and Hera Command Window.

  • XMM-Newton Data Reduction with Scripts

    Perl scripts that streamline the basic data reduction process for the EPIC and RGS cameras are now available for download and via Hera! Short guides detailing their use are also available following these links. In addition to simplifying data reduction, they minimize user interaction. Knowledge of SAS, while recommended, is not required.

  • Other Specialized Software Tools

    • An Optical Monitor Script to simplify the task of getting OM data into an easy to use format. The code works on the Pipeline product files and produces one image file for each filter and each low- or high-resolution mode. In addition, it reads the exposure maps associated with the files and produces one exposure map for each filter and each mode. The script, and further information can be retrieved here:

    • Gnupg (GPG) for archive file decryption. In order to decrypt proprietary XMM-Newton data pgp or gpg with IDEA support is needed. If you don't already have this on your system we have made some static binaries available that will work with our decrypt script.

  • Documentation

    • The XMM-Newton Users Handbook can be found on-line at GSFC or the SOC. G'zipped PostScript (8.8 Mbyte compressed, 98 Mbyte uncompressed) and PDF (9.4 Mbyte) versions are available.
    • The SAS Users Guide can be found on-line at: GSFC or the SOC. G'zipped PostScript (18 Mb) and PDF (8 Mb) versions are available. On-line documentation for the SAS tasks can be found at: GSFC or the SOC.
    • The XMM-Newton ABC Guide for XMM data analysis, prepared by the NASA/GSFC XMM-Newton GOF, is a companion document for the SAS. It provides simple analysis walk throughs and practical information.
    • The XMM-Newton ABC Guide Streamlined - a modified ABC Guide making it easier for the User to find relevant sections.
    • The XMM-Newton D Guide is an even briefer document, also produced by the GOF. When the ABC Guide is too much information this quick reference guide and memory aid for the basic SAS tasks is the alternative.
    • The XMM-Newton ABC Guide for Hera provides walkthroughs and practical information for data reduction via the Hera interface. The online Guide for the GUI is here and for the Command Window is here.
    • The XMM-Newton Calibration and Background Treatment portal is here, and the topic is also discussed here at the GOF.

  • XMM-Newton Source Naming Convention

    The XMM-Newton Observatory catalogs tens of X-ray sources and additional Optical/UV targets for each and every observation. When referring to sources in XMM observations it is appropriate to use their catalog designation. For X-ray sources that have no designation that need to be referred to in a paper, you should use the naming convention XMMU JHHMMSS.s+/-DDMMSS,

    e.g. source position: RA 03 10 15.1, Dec -76 51 31.2 (J2000) recommended acronym: XMMU J031015.1-765131
    source position: RA 17 23 48.7, Dec +82 17 33.8 (J2000) recommended acronym: XMMU J172348.7+821733.

    Note that position designations are truncated and not rounded. Uncatalogued optical/UV sources detected only with the Optical Monitor should be designated using the form XMMOM JHHMMSS.S+/-DDMMSS. (This is still in the process of registration with the IAU).

    (See also the SOC source naming page.)

  • Other Publication Guidelines

    When publishing a paper using XMM-Newton data please include the following text, preferably as a footnote to the title:

    "Based on observations obtained with XMM-Newton, an ESA science mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA Member States and NASA"

    Each publication using XMM-Newton data should include the Target Name, the Date of the Observation and the Obs-Id to ensure that the data can be uniquely identified.

    (From the SOC Publication Guidelines page.)

If you have any questions concerning XMM-Newton send e-mail to

This file was last modified on Wednesday, 06-Jun-2018 21:08:40 EDT
Curator:Michael Arida (ADNET);

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