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XTE FTOOLS 4.0 Release Notes RXTE

Version-4.0 release notes, June 1997

These are release notes for FTOOLS v4.0, released 17 June, 1997. In this document we discuss the new tools and scripts in v4.0 and highlight the major changes since v3.6.

XTE Specific Tools

For complete details and up-to-date information on using FTOOLS v4.0 to analyze RXTE data, please refer to:


For more information on any FTOOL type "fhelp " once you've installed the package. "fhelp ftools" will provide a full listing of all the tools available in v4.0, while "fhelp " lists all of the tools in that package.

New since v3.6

  • ASMCHANNEL -- [PERL] Separate ASM color file by energy channel
  • FASEBIN* -- Bin RXTE observations of a periodic signal into a 2-d histogram (fB)
  • FBADD -- Add several commensurate fB files together
  • FBFSUM -- Average fB files in phase, by summing rows together
  • FBSSUM -- Average fB files in energy and perform phase analysis
  • FBSUB -- Subtract a baseline (unpulsed contribution) from a fB histogram
  • HXTARF -- Compute and apply HEXTE collimator response to produce a .arf file
  • HXTBACK -- [PERL] Separate HEXTE science or hk files by cluster position
  • HXTDEADLC -- Correct HEXTE light curve from clock time to live time
  • HXTDEADPHA -- Correct HEXTE .pha file from clock time to live time
  • MKGTIF -- Create GTI extension file for HEXTE data
  • RECOFMI -- Reconstruct RXTE master index files (FMI)
  • XTECOL -- Create collimator corrected light curve for input XTE light curve
  • XSELECT2** - Perform (standard mode 2) XTE PCA analysis

    *PHASE BINNING TOOLS - (fasebin, fbadd, fbsub, fbfsum, fbssum) New tools to bin events from a periodic source in both time (phase) and energy, thus allowing phase-resolved spectroscopy, as well as multi-spectral periodic light curve analysis. These tools can apply barycenter and binary orbit corrections, and can handle PCA data in a variety of data modes, HEXTE data in event mode. The default timing ephemeris is obtained from the radio pulsar database.

    • fasebin is the main tool. It extracts the two-dimensional phase-energy histogram from the raw data and formats it into a single .pha file containing multiple spectra (one for each phase bin, preserving the phase information), according to the OGIP Type II Spectral File standard. Spectral files produced by fasebin may be read into XSPEC 10.0 or higher.

    • A suite of additional new tools (fbadd, fbsub, fbfsum, fbssum), allows adding observations together, subtracting non-periodic emission, and creating phase-vs-energy histograms, among other options.

    **XSELECT2 This release includes a first look at xselect2. Xselect2 will help you do Standard mode 2 PCA analysis. It implements the "Reduction and Analysis of PCA Spectra" from the RXTE Data Analysis Cookbook.

Major changes since v3.6

  • PCARSP (v2.31)
    • Three command line options have been added to override some default settings:
      • The default naming scheme for the final .rsp file has been altered for cases in which not all detectors are used, but are added together. The default name now explicitly lists the pcu's in such cases. The "pca" designation is reserved for when all 5 pcu's are added. The user may override the default name given to the final .rsp file using the -n command line input.
      • The date of the observation is now taken from the header of the input pha file. The user may override this date using the -d command line input.
      • Using the -e option, the user may now specify an energy-to-channel calibration file which is resident on a local disk rather than having it fetched from the calibration database (e.g. caldb).
    • The option for using the crab-fixing efficiencies in pcarmf have been removed. In v2.1.2 of pcarmf, this now requires the user to supply his/her own file with modified areas. We now consider this an expert feature. Interested users should contact the GOF or the PCA team.
    • When used with pcarmf v2.1.2, users may now create a matrix for the propane layer.
    • Lower case is now accepted when specifying the layer anodes.
    • Bug fixes include better cleaning up of the unnecessary files, allowing the calls to pcarmf, marfrmf, xpcaarf and gcorrmf to overwrite existing output files, and proper calling of gcorrmf when pcarsp runs pcagainset.

  • PCARMF (v2.1.2) This version of pcarmf includes a number of changes and enhancements. Note that it should be used with the calibration file pca_e2c_e03v03.fits.
    • The supported energy-to-channel model is now 3. This model first translates the energy of the photon into the number of secondary electrons, and then allows a quadratic fit for channel number as a function of number of electrons. The x-axis (number of electrons) is renormalized to be approximately the energy for convenience for plotting inside xspec.
    • Propane matrices may now be created, and are individually generated for each PCU to account for the different PCU gains. The normalization of propane response to xenon response is unexpected (i.e. not 1). Users are advised to let the normalization of the propane layer float relative to other layers for the time being.
    • The default areas have been removed for the crab-fixing efficiency adjustments. Hence, to utilize the scale_hack parameter, the user must now supply his/her own file (using the scale_file parameter) giving the area adjustments.
    • Parameters used to calculate the response matrix are now written as HISTORY keywords to the extension header. These include many of the hidden pcarmf parameters.

  • PCABACKEST (v1.5)
    • Can really search calibration database for background models.
    • Some HISTORY records in the FITS header.
    • Allows filter files to be a little short.
    • Correctly sets the GAINAPP keyword.
    • Supports various improvements in the model file format.

New GUI's:

The FTOOLS now has a full suite of GUI based tools written in Tcl/Tk. One or more of them could make your life much easier, so check them out. Note: the FTOOLS tar file contains everything you need to run these tools (including a specially "tuned" version of Tcl/Tk, you do *not* need to have Tcl/Tk built separately from the FTOOLS). Individual tools include:

  • FLAUNCH - This powerful yet easy to learn customizable graphical interface to all of the FTOOLS is new with this release. It enables the user to call any FTOOL or task, edit its parameter files, and examine the output. FLAUNCH provides extensive on-line help on its own capabilities, as well as providing context sensitive help on any task being examined. There's even an IRAF epar emulation mode for those who want it.

    FLAUNCH can be called either with a specific task name (e.g. 'flaunch saextrct') providing a parameter editing window for just that task, or as a standalone GUI (e.g. 'flaunch &'). In the latter case, FLAUNCH provides a complete FTOOLs environment allowing the user to run multiple FTOOLs and examine the output from each executed task in real-time, in either their own terminal window or via an output log file. Users may run tools in the background while running others in the foreground, and can input information interactively where necessary (e.g. when calling FPLOT) . Future versions of FLAUNCH will allow users to create and submit interactive scripts.

  • XSELECT2 - Also new to this release, the successor to the command-line drive xselect, the new xselect2 is the primary GUI interface for HEASARC mission-specific data analysis. Currently it only supports XTE but more missions are on the way. See the XTE GOF web pages for more info.

  • FV2.0 - This is a major upgrade over fv1.0 (released with FTOOLS3.6). fv now has a much more capable and intuitive plotting and image display interface (with online help). fv also now allows you to edit table and keyword values from the spreadsheet interface. It's also much faster.

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This page is maintained by the RXTE GOF and was last modified on Tuesday, 14-Sep-1999 13:46:03 EDT.