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HEAsoft 5.2 released

June 25, 2002

A new version of HEAsoft FTOOLS package, version 5.2, is now available. The package includes several improvements for RXTE data analysis, including new and greatly improved PCA response matrices, a new energy-to-channel file, and an updated PCABACKEST which operates on the latest combined background model files. The barycenter correction script FAXBARY has been released with a bug correction.

The new PCA background models and tools work much better for PCU0, however they still produce slightly discontinuous results during the time period near the loss of the propane layer. PCABACKEST now supports the new Combined Models (CM); several new appids are required to be included in the appidlist. It now includes in the file headers documentation about which models were used. Consult the PCA Digest page for instructions on using the new tools, as well as the latest information on the new models and additional details about PCA background issues.

Below you will find the RXTE changes listed (taken from the Full Release notes)


Other than a few minor bug fixes which caused tools to crash in certain
circumstances and/or on particular machines, the significant changes to
the RXTE FTOOLS center around improvements to PCA response matrices and
background models.

New versions of PCARMF, XPCAARF, and the wrapper script PCARSP are
included in this release, as is the associated energy-to-channel FITS
file pca_e2c_e05v02.fits.

PCARMF v8.0 has the following features:

*  Calculation of instrumental energy resolution has been improved
*  Energy channels in the matrix are now spaced logarithmically
*  Each detector can now have a separate value for the thickness
   of the "dead layer" between xenon volumes (via new parameters
   in pcarmf.par)
*  There is now an opportunity to specify a second a+bx law (and date
   when it starts) for the amount of xenon in the propane layer. At the
   moment this is only used for PCU0 (to set the amount to zero after
   the loss of that layer)

PCU0 is still slightly discontinuous over the loss of the propane layer,
but much less so than before.

The only change to XPCAARF is to the default values (in xpcaarf.par)
for the geometric areas of four of the five PCUs (PCU 2 was left
unchanged). These were chosen to make the flux of the Crab similar
when fit to the five detectors (epoch 3/4 chosen for the comparison).
Note that this will likely result in a step function in monitoring
fluxes unless the whole data set is reanalyzed with a constant set of
XPCAARF coefficients.

PCARSP (v8.0) has been updated to ensure that the default value for the
partial charge fraction matches the value in PCARMF (was 0.0, now 0.02).
A bug was also fixed in the previous version which caused the "-n"
flag to fail to properly rename the final output response file in
single-detector cases.

PCABACKEST has been updated to support the new Combined Models (CM)
and to include more information in the output file headers documenting
which models were used. In addition, XTEFILT (ie., FCOLLECT and XTEDERIVE)
has been modified to add a new derived quantity, L6CNTPCU0, to the filter
file. This can be used to filter out times when large flares appear in
the background model due to the loss of the propane layer in PCU0. Six
new quantities must be added to the input AppID list to allow L6CNTPCU0 to
be computed (the full AppID list is given in the fhelp for XTEFILT).
The new quantities are:

 74 X2LX2RCntPcu0
 74 X3LX3RCntPcu0
 74 X1LX2LCntPcu0
 74 X1RX2RCntPcu0
 74 X2LX3LCntPcu0
 74 X2RX3RCntPcu0

Please see the PCA Digest page at
(and references within) for additional details on PCA background issues.

The tool FGABOR, which calculates windowed short-term Fourier
transforms on a lightcurve file, has also been enhanced since the
previous release. It now includes two new hidden parameters ("sigma"
and "normalize") to allow users to tweak the gap-detection algorithm
and the output power normalization.

The script FAXBARY has had a bug fixed which caused it to fail to create
a proper merged orbit file if the input list included mission day 1157.
A new (hidden) parameter, "tolerance", has also been added to allow for
leap seconds in the orbit file timestamps. The default value is 3 seconds.

Finally, the help files for the HEXTE deadtime corrector (HXTDEAD) have
been updated to add the hidden parameter "detectors", which controls
which detectors are included. Note that the parameter itself is not new,
it was just missing from the documentation.

If you have a question about RXTE, please send email to one of our help desks.

This page is maintained by the RXTE GOF and was last modified on Tuesday, 25-Jun-2002 13:55:03 EDT.