XMM-Newton-NEWS  #211,    22-Jun-2018

XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre at
ESA's European Space Astronomy Centre,
P.O. Box - Apdo. 78, 28691 Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain
SOC Home Page: http://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/xmm-newton/
Helpdesk web interface: http://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/xmm-newton/xmm-newton-helpdesk
Helpdesk email address: xmmhelp@sciops.esa.int
News Mailing List: http://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/xmm-newton/newsletter


  • Version 17.0 of the Science Analysis System (SAS) released
  • Data Analysis Threads for SAS v17.0
  • ESA Research Fellowship in Space Science at ESAC
  • The Hunt for Galaxy Clusters:
    A Citizen Science Project using XMM-Newton Data

Version 17.0 of the Science Analysis System (SAS) released

The XMM-Newton SAS team is pleased to announce the release of a new version of the SAS: SAS v17.0.

Binaries for diverse flavours of Linux and Mac OS X are available at


The main improvements of this release can be summarised as follows:

  • New in this release is the Graphical User Interface (GUI) for xmmextractor. This task should be considered as experimental and user feedback is very welcome.
  • The energy of the events recorded by the EPIC-pn camera has been shown to be dependent on the recent background level experienced in the camera. Tasks within the epchain and epproc processes have been adapted to make this correction. At the time of release the correction has not been fully calibrated and the event energies will be identical to those produced with SAS v16.1.0. A new calibration file will be released shortly to activate this correction.
  • The calculation of the size of the source extraction region for Timing/Burst mode data has been made more accurate in the backscale and arfgen tasks.
  • The task arfgen has been generalised to allow a detector or sky coordinate image from any EPIC camera to be used to correct for bad pixels and chip gaps.
  • EPIC data taken in RGS multi-pointing mode now has the correct coordinate conversions applied when using arfgen with the useodfatt=yes option.
  • Various updates have been made to esas, including making the source masks produced by the task cheese proportional in size to the source strength.

This version of SAS is released in two 64-bit binary versions for Linux (RHEL 6.8 and Ubuntu 16), and one for Mac OS X (Sierra). The versions released have been tested to run correctly on several other platforms including CentOs 7.3, El Capitan and High Sierra. Libraries are provided where necessary together with the distribution.

Data Analysis Threads for SAS v17.0

SAS analysis threads have been revised to ensure compatibility with the recently released SAS v17.0. A new thread dealing with the extraction of EPIC spectra for observations taken in RGS Multi-pointing Mode has been added.

SAS Threads are available at


ESA Research Fellowships in Space Science at ESAC

Postdoctoral fellowships in the area of Astronomy and Astrophysics related to the X-ray observatory XMM-Newton are tenable at the XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre in the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) located in Villafranca del Castillo, near Madrid, Spain.

The deadline for applications is

1st October 2018

The European Space Agency awards several postdoctoral fellowships each year. The aim of these fellowships is to provide young scientists, holding a PhD or the equivalent degree, with the means of performing space science research in fields related to the ESA Science Programme. The fellowships have a duration of two years, with a possible third year extension.

Applications are now solicited for fellowships to begin in autumn 2019. Preference will be given to applications submitted by candidates in an early stage of their career. Candidates not holding a PhD yet are encouraged to apply, but they must provide evidence of receiving their degree before starting the fellowship.

Working at ESAC within the XMM-Newton team gives the unique opportunity of being in contact with the calibration scientists, the developers of the analysis software and the User Support Group.

Research opportunities with XMM-Newton science staff include, among other, studies of the high energy emission of novae, galaxies, and AGN using XMM-Newton datal, see e.g. https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/esac-science-faculty/groups-agn, and https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/esac-science-faculty/accretion-group.

Please contact Norbert Schartel ( ) for more details on ESA Research Fellowships related to XMM-Newton.

More information on the ESA Research Fellowship programme in Space Science, on the conditions and eligibility, as well as the application form can be retrieved from


The Hunt for Galaxy Clusters:
A Citizen Science Project using XMM-Newton Data

We would like to bring your attention "The Hunt for Galaxy Clusters", a citizen science project on the Zooniverse platform.

The goal of the project is to obtain labeled data to train neural networks for the automated search of galaxy clusters in the XMM-Newton archival database. Volunteers to participate in this project are welcome.

More details at "The Hunt for Galaxy Clusters" website



Yours sincerely,

XMM-Newton SOC