SIXTE - Simulation of X-ray Telescopes

SIXTE is a software package for X-ray telescope observation simulations developed at the Remeis Observatory (ECAP). 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.

For an overview of the SIXTE software package, see Dauser et al. (2019). If you use results obtained with SIXTE in a publication, please cite as: "This research has made use of the SIXTE software package (Dauser et al., 2019) provided by ECAP/Remeis observatory ("

SIMPUT Format - Source Description

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 SIXTE 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.

More details on the SIMPUT format are described here. We also provide selected SIMPUT files for download, which can be readily used in a Sixte simulations.

SIXTE Simulator Manual

The current 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 (v1.3.14, 2020-02-01)

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

4 year eROSITA Attitude file for a launch in April 2019 (200MB!): eRASS_4yr_epc85_att.fits.bz2

SIXTE Athena Webinar (11. May 2020)

On 11th of May 2020 a webinar with focus on the Athena WFI and X-IFU was given. The slides presented plus the scripts to demonstrate the simple usage of Sixte can be found below. These examples are very close to what is shown in the manual.

4th SIXTE Workshop (19.-21. February 2019, IFCA)

On the 19. until 21. February 2019 the fourth SIXTE workshop took place in Santander, with a focus on Athena WFI and X-IFU simulations. Below is a selection of the talks presented there.

  • End-to-end introduction: talk
  • Athena introduction: talk
  • Tutorial Slides: talk
  • Defining other instruments: talk
  • TES-Simulations: talk
  • SIRENA Tutorial: talk

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