SIXTE - Simulation of X-ray Telescopes

SIXTE is a software package for X-Ray telescope observation simulations developed at ECAP under the leadership of Christian Schmid. It allows to undertake instrument performance analyses and to produce simulated event files for mission- and analysis studies.

The software strives to find a compromise between exactness of the simulation and speed. For many cases, by using calibration files such as the PSF, RMF and ARF, efficient simulations are possible at comparably high speed, even though they include nonlinear effects such as pileup. Setups for some current and future missions such as XMM-Newton or Athena are included in the package, others can be added by the user with relatively little effort through specifying the main instrument characteristics in a flexible, human-readable XML-based format.

Properties of X-ray sources to be simulated are described in a detector-independent format, i.e., the same input can be used for simulating observations with all available instruments, and the same input can also be used for simulations with the SIMX simulator. The input files can be easily generated from standard data such as XSPEC spectral models or FITS images with tools provided with the SIXT distribution. The input data scale well from single point sources up to very complicated setups. For example, for ATHENA we have simulated observations of the galactic center based on the Chandra input catalogues and images of the diffuse emission, while for eROSITA we regularly perform simulations of the whole sky using several million time-variable point sources.

A full description of the file format is given in the SIMPUT (SIMulation inPUT) FITS specification document. file format. It lists the basic parameters of the sources such as their flux in a reference band, their positions in a table and can also reference images, spectra and lightcurves.

SIXTE Simulator Manual

The first version of the SIXTE simulator manual is available for download below. It includes general description of SIXTE and the implementation of detectors such as the WFI, X-IFU, eROSITA and others. In addition, tutorials for Athena WFI and X-IFU simulations are included.

download: simulator_manual.pdf (v1.2)

supplementary files for the X-IFU tutorial (30MB!): X-IFU_clusters_tutorial.tgz

1st SIXTE Workshop (20.-21. April 2016, IRAP)

On the 20. until 21. April 2016 the first SIXTE workshop took place in Toulouse, with a focus on Athena WFI and X-IFU simulations. The following talks were presented at the 1st SIXTE workshop. In addition to the simulator manual (see above), these talks give valuable information on mainly Athena WFI and X-IFU simulations and their setup.

  • End-to-end introduction (J. Wilms): talk
  • SIXTE implementation of the WFI (T. Dauser): talk
  • SIXTE implementation of the X-IFU (P. Peille): talk
  • Bright Sources Capabilities of the WFI (T. Dauser): talk
  • Tessim Simulations (J. Wilms): talk
  • X-IFU Bright Source Studies (P. Peille): talk
  • XML-files and Other Missions (J. Wilms): talk

SIXTE team · Dr. Remeis-Sternwarte Bamberg · Sternwartstraße 7 · D-96049 Bamberg