A Short Guide to XMM-Newton Science Archive Data Products

The XMM-Newton Science Archive (XSA) is the repository of the XMM-Newton science data. A user interface allows the XSA user to browse the archive, visualize quick-look products, and select files to be included in a "basket" for subsequent retrieval. The XSA contains therefore all the XMM-Newton science files, as well as all the files which are necessary for a proper understanding, reduction and analysis of the XMM-Newton data, including access to VO tools, etc. The scientific data contained in the XSA falls in one of the following categories:

  • the Observation/Slew Data Files (ODF/SDF)
  • the Processing Pipeline System (PPS) products
  • the XMM-Newton Serendipitous Source Catalogue
  • the XMM-Newton OM Serendipitous Ultra-violet Source Survey (SUSS) Catalogue
  • the Slew Survey source catalogue

A brief description of these files is given hereinafter.

The user is invited to consult the specific documentation available on-line for a more complete description. General information about the mission is contained in the XMM-Newton Users' Handbook.


XMM-Newton reformatted telemetry is organized in the Observation/Slew Data Files (ODF/SDF). Most of the ODF/SDF files have a FITS format. ODF/SDFs contain uncalibrated science files, which cannot be directly used for scientific data analysis. Their content is described in the XMM-Newton ODF/SDF Interface Control Document. ODF are ingested in the XSA within about three weeks after an observation has been performed. In order to create scientifically usable and calibrated products, SAS reduction tasks must be run on the ODF/SDFs.

The PPS products

The scientific analysis of XMM-Newton data can be started from the products created by the pipeline processing, which are also described in the XMM-Newton Data Files Handbook. All the pipeline (PPS) products are available in the XSA. They include calibrated, "cleaned" event lists, as well as a number of secondary high-level products such as sky images, source lists, cross-correlations with archival catalogues, source spectra and time series. Reports, describing the quality of the PPS outcomes, are linked in the XSA to the corresponding observations. Within the XSA, individual PPS products can be individually retrieved. Several FITS-format or graphical products can be directly viewed.

A general description of the pipeline can be found in the XMM-Newton and SSC pipeline documentation pages. A detailed description of the individual files can be found in the Specifications for individual SSC data products.

Send your questions about the XSA to the: XMM-Newton HelpDesk