As members of the instrument team for the Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS) on NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and as Chandra General Observers, we have developed a wide variety of data analysis methods that we believe are useful to the Chandra community, and have constructed a significant body of publicly available software (the ACIS Extract package) addressing important ACIS data and science analysis tasks. This paper seeks to describe these data analysis methods for two purposes: to document the data analysis work performed in our own science projects and to help other ACIS observers judge whether these methods may be useful in their own projects (regardless of what tools and procedures they choose to implement those methods). The ACIS data analysis recommendations we offer here address much of the workflow in a typical ACIS project, including data preparation, point source detection via both wavelet decomposition and image reconstruction, masking point sources, identification of diffuse structures, event extraction for both point and diffuse sources, merging extractions from multiple observations, nonparametric broadband photometry, analysis of low-count spectra, and automation of these tasks. Many of the innovations presented here arise from several, often interwoven, complications that are found in many Chandra projects: large numbers of point sources (hundreds to several thousand), faint point sources, misaligned multiple observations of an astronomical field, point source crowding, and scientifically relevant diffuse emission.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science