The 2006 Project





Virtual Observatory (VO)

INTEGRAL spectra of Galactic Bulge sources - Laura Barragan, UCM

Tutors: Dr. E. Kuulkers; Dr. P. Kretschmar
March 2006 - July 2007

The project consists in analysing the Galactic Bulge sources with two detectors of INTEGRAL: IBIS and JEMX in order to get their spectra in gamma-rays and X-rays respectively. The analysis will be done for all revolutions of the satellite. Spectra will be fitted with simple models (powerlaw and cutoffpowerlaw), and the spectral parameters such as Photon Index and norm will be analysed for their evolution with time.

INTEGRAL Product Visualisation - Pieter-Jan Baeck, YGT

Tutor: Dr. O. R. Williams
July 2006 - June 2007

In order to encourage the widest possible communication access to INTEGRAL data, improved visualisation tools are necessary. Image display and manipulation are well handled by the present generation of ESA-developed tools. In contrast more work is needed to properly display INTEGRAL light curves, where the user must be able to select time binning and energy ranges appropriate to the source type. More work is also needed in the manipulation of broad-band spectra, where the user must have the ability to easily select the times for which averaged spectra can be displayed.

An INTEGRAL Product Visualisation Tool will be developped, which allows the generation of either light curves or hardness ratios with both user-slected time binning and user-selected energy ranges. Once these have been displayed, the user will be able to select periods using a mouse which can then be used to generate spectra. Display of spectra generated in this fashion will alse be handled by this tool.

ISO Spectral Atlas ("superspectra project") - Ignacio Mendigutía, UCM

Tutor: Dr. A. Salama
March 2006 - December 2006

The goal of this project is to make an atlas with some of the spectroscopic data available in the ISO Data Archive. Spectra of those sources where measurements with both short and long wavelength spectrometer are available, repeated short wavelength spectra of the same source and repeated long wavelength spectra of the same source are used to carry out the analysis.  Once the data are combined to derive a mean spectrum, they will remain as the only spectroscopic database covering the 2 to 200 microns range. As well those spectra will have an extremely high S/N ratio, with a improved sensitivity to spectral features.

An X-ray/radio sample of Active Galactic Nuclei - Nuria Fonseca, UCM

Tutor: Dr. S. Bianchi
March 2006 - ...

A sample of Radio Quiet Quasars, Seyfert 1 and Narrow Lines Seyfert is analysed. The goal of this project is the study of these objects in two different bands (soft and hard X-ray) and radio (6 and 20 cm). The correlation is done with X-ray data from the XMM-Newton and radio data from the literature, different cathalogues from Vizier and NED. The relation between both bands determines the processes that ocurred inside the objects of this sample.

Fitting aspects of an automated cross calibration fitting tool for XMM-Newton - Elena Gonzalez, UCM

Tutors: Dr. M. Stuhlinger; Dr. M. G. F. Kirsch
April 2006 - ...

Together with the EPIC IDT an automated fitting tool is being developed. This will allow to do individual and simultaneous spectral fitting of data from the pn, MOS1, MOS2, RGS1 and RGS2 instruments on board XMM Newton. Main focus is to develop XSPEC scripts for several spectra, that have been created by other tools before, in order to do the fitting. Output of these scripts will be a plot of the simultaneous fitted spectra and a parameter file of the individual fits. The project also includes the verification of the extracted spectra concerning pile-up.

Energy calibration refinement of the EPIC-pn Burst mode - Gustaf Winroth, University Linköpings

Tutor: Dr M. G. F. Kirsch
September 2006 - February2007

For very bright sources observed in EPIC-pn Burst mode the Charge Transfer Efficiency correction over predicts charge losses. This can result in an up to 2 % apparent gain shift most visible for spectral features like edges or lines in the spectra. We aim to refine the energy calibration addressing CTE and gain calibration both for the energy and rate dependencies. It is planned to observe the supernova remnant Cas-A for that purposed and analyse those data in combination with data of very bright objects in order to carry out the calibration. Cas-A as a line rich source will provide energy standards to better model the CTE while a spatially dependent analysis of the Crab pulsar and nebula data will allow to better model the count rate dependence.

Fitting improvements of the cross calibration tool for XMM-Newton - Fernando Bayon, UCM

Tutor: Dr. M. Stuhlinger; Dr. M. G. F. Kirsch
October 2006 - December 2006

The EPIC IDT has developed an automated fitting tool for the data from pn, MOS and RGS instruments on board the XMM Newton satellite. This tool however needs human intelligence at one point to determine when the spectral fitting has been completed and is free of pile-up. The project consists of determining the regions where the fitting is complete, which in some cases needs to be done manually, along with minor improvements in the tool scripts.

XMM-Newton Data Analysis - Rosemary Willatt, YGT

Tutor: Matthias Ehle
July 2006 - June 2007

I am developing scripts which reduce archival XMM-Newton data to produce images. These scripts perform corrections to the data such as screening for high background periods and removing hot columns and pixels, and also perform tasks such as combining data from more than one camera. At present it takes a lot of time to produce an image and my aim is to create a tool which greatly reduces this time and produces scientifically useful and well-presented images in more than one energy band. These can then be used to produce false-colour images and calculate hardness ratios. The scripts will then be used by myself to produce images to populate the on-line XMM-Newton Image Gallery, and be made available to the public after testing.
I am also working on a research project into the time-variability of the Wolf-Rayet binary star system V444 Cyg. For this project I am writing code in IDL to produce light curves in different energy bands. These light curves will be analysed together with spectra to try to examine the X-ray variability and ultimately the nature of the X-ray sources within the system.

Mathematical algorithm coding in Virtual Observatory environment - Andrea Laruelo, UCM

Tutor: P. Osuna; J. Salgado
February 2006 - May 2006

This project consists on the implementation of a mathematical algorithm to find the best fit of spectral energy distributions. The algorithm will be integrated within the VOSpec, a spectral analysis tool that is part of the VO activities of ESA. The aim of VO project is to offer seamless access to astronomical data worldwide at the click of a button.

Evaluation of EPIC SciSim capabilities from a calibration point of view - Andre Burzlaff, TU Aachen

Tutor: Dr. M. Stuhlinger; Dr. M. G. F. Kirsch
April 2006 - October 2006

The project aims to check the performance and capabilities of the XMM-Newton Science Simulator called SciSim. The software will be tested form a functional and calibration point of view. Results will be presented in a final report, that in addition will make recommendations on possible improvement and the incorporation of missing calibration processes. The main attention in the testing process will be given to energy calibration, redistribution, pile-up and X-ray loading by simulating monochromatic lines and featureless power law spectra. Moreover contamination simulations of various components of the instruments will be performed.

XMM-Newton timing monitoring - Antonio Carrillo, UCM

Tutor: Dr. M. G. F. Kirsch
... - October 2006

The project addresses the relative and absolute timing of XMM-Newton using various pulsars. We obtain the relative and absolute timing accuracy by comparing the period and phase of the pulsars in X-ray and radio. The X-ray periods are measured using chi2 epoch folding. The main target is Crab pulsar were radio ephemeris are taken, from the Jodrell Bank Observatory. For other pulsars like PSRB1509 or PSRB0540, radio ephemeris are obtained from dedicated radio observation or from the EPN (Europe Pulsar Network) and the ATNF (Australia Telescope National Facility) database.

An automated cross call fitting tool - Stefan Doerr, Tuebingen University

Tutor: Dr. M. G. F. Kirsch; Dr. M. Stuhlinger
March 2006 - October 2006

One of the main calibration issues of XMM-Newton is the cross-calibration between the different XMM-instruments. A cross calibration archive that allows to perform bulk-reprocessing of various X-ray sources has been build up in the past year. As a result of the bulk reprocessing spectra needs to be fitted with XSPEC in order to judge calibration accuracies. This is currently done in a semi-automated way. The trainee shall expand the available xspec routines to an automated fitting tool possibly also interacting with html pages and creating overview graphics.

Narrow energy-shifted features in XMM-Newton spectra of AGN - Juan Roa, UCM

Tutor: Dr. A. Longinotti
March 2006 - June 2006

Narrow spectral features in the 5-7 keV range were recently discovered in the hard X-ray band of spectra of active galactic nuclei. Nowadays, it is not well established if narrow features are a real phenomenon intrinsic of AGNs. This project consists in developing a procedure based on Montecarlo simulation of synthetic spectra in order to test the significance of these lines. The procedure is going to be applied to a large sample of AGNs taken with the EPIC camera of XMM-Newton.

Constraining the total baryon number of the universe with XMM-Newton high resolution spectra - Daniel Nieto, UCM

Tutor: Dr. N. Schartel
March 2006 - June 2006

One of the most challenging questions in today cosmology is the amount and nature of the dark matter, which is needed to explain the expansion history of the universe. The measurement of the total baryon number is therefore essential as this number determines directly the amount of dark matter. Unfortunately, a significant amount of matter in the universe escapes detection as the energy range, in which it emits light, cannot be observed. Numerical hydrodynamic simulations predict that about 35% of the present-day baryons have temperatures between 105 and 107 K. This material is called warm-hot intergalactic medium (WHIM) and it is located in diffuse large-scale filaments. The proposed project aims searching for WHIM based on XMM-Newton observations. The idea is to take archival high-resolution spectra of bright extragalactic objects and to detect the WHIMs through absorption lines. The successful candidate will be asked to identify suited bright extragalactic objects in the XMM-Newton Science Archive. The proposed project requires that existing spectra extraction scripts are modified such that they allow analysing a large number of objects. The developed scripts should then be used to extract the spectra of the identified objects and to search for the physical features of WHIM.

A user-friendly graphical interface for photoionization codes - Alejandro Torrado, UCM

Tutor: Dr. M. Guainazzi
April 2006 - July 2006

This projects aims at the development of a user-friendly, graphical interface to the photoionization code CLOUDY. CLOUDY is one of the standard packages used in astronomy to simulate the emission of photoionized nebulae. Its flexibility, the wide range of geometrical and physical input parameters, and its overall robustness make it a fundamental tool to interpret the observed high-energy spectra of celestial sources such as Active Galactic Nuclei or X-ray binaries, where the bulk of the high-energy emission is likely to be due to non-thermal processes. Flexibility means complexity. The proposed trainee will be asked to develop a graphical user-friendly interface to CLOUDY. It is of course unrealistic that a full interface to such a complex code can be developed in the short time interval envisaged by a trainee project. The successful candidate will be therefore requested to implement in the user interface only a subset of the whole CLOUDY functionalities, which is relevant to the interpretation of X-ray (XMM-Newton and Chandra) high-resolution spectra of Active Galactic Nuclei. The definition of this sub-set will be under the full responsibility of the trainee supervisor.