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The European Photon Imaging Camera on XMM-Newton: The MOS cameras

The European Photon Imaging Camera on XMM-Newton: The MOS cameras

Publication date: 05 January 2001

Authors: Turner, M.J.L., et al.

Journal: Astronomy & Astrophysics
Volume: 365
Issue: 1
Page: L27-L35
Year: 2001

Copyright: ESO 2001

The EPIC focal plane imaging spectrometers on XMM-Newton use CCDs to record the images and spectra of celestial X-ray sources focused by the three X-ray mirrors. There is one camera at the focus of each mirror; two of the cameras contain seven MOS CCDs, while the third uses twelve PN CCDs, defining a circular field of view of 30' diameter in each case. The CCDs were specially developed for EPIC, and combine high quality imaging with spectral resolution close to the Fano limit. A filter wheel carrying three kinds of X-ray transparent light blocking filter, a fully closed, and a fully open position, is fitted to each EPIC instrument. The CCDs are cooled passively and are under full closed loop thermal control. A radio-active source is fitted for internal calibration. Data are processed on-board to save telemetry by removing cosmic ray tracks, and generating X-ray event files; a variety of different instrument modes are available to increase the dynamic range of the instrument and to enable fast timing. The instruments were calibrated using laboratory X-ray beams, and synchrotron generated monochromatic X-ray beams before launch; in-orbit calibration makes use of a variety of celestial X-ray targets. The current calibration is better than 10% over the entire energy range of 0.2 to 10 keV. All three instruments survived launch and are performing nominally in orbit. In particular full field-of-view coverage is available, all electronic modes work, and the energy resolution is close to pre-launch values. Radiation damage is well within pre-launch predictions and does not yet impact on the energy resolution. The scientific results from EPIC amply fulfil pre-launch expectations.

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