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The impact of the in-orbit background and the X-ray source intensity on the centroiding accuracy of the Swift X-ray telescope

By R. M. Ambrosi, I. B. Hutchinson, J. Hill, C. Cheruvu, A. F. Abbey and A. D. T. Short


The optical components of the Swift Gamma Ray Burst Explorer X-ray Telescope (XRT), consisting of the JET-X spare flight mirror and a charge coupled device of the type used in the EPIC program, were used in a re-calibration study carried out at the Panter facility, which is part of the Max Plank Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics. The objective of this study was to check the focal length and the off axis performance of the mirrors and to show that the half energy width (HEW) of the on-axis point spread function (PSF) was of the order of 16 arcsec at 1.5 keV (Nucl. Instr. and Meth. A 488 (2002) 543; SPIE 4140 (2000) 64) and that a centroiding accuracy better that 1 arcsec could be achieved within the 4 arcmin sampling area designated by the Burst Alert Telescope (Nucl. Instr. and Meth. A 488 (2002) 543). The centroiding accuracy of the Swift XRT's optical components was tested as a function of distance from the focus and off axis position of the PSF (Nucl. Instr. and Meth. A 488 (2002) 543).\ud \ud The presence of background events in the image frame introduced errors in the centroiding process, making the choice of centroiding algorithm important (Nucl. Instr. and Meth. A 488 (2002) 543). Since the objective of Swift is to rapidly investigate the X-ray afterglows of Gamma Ray Bursts the possibility of detecting a bright source with intensity greater than 25 Crab could not be excluded and therefore the impact of a saturated PSF core on the centroiding accuracy was investigated by experimental methods

Year: 2002
DOI identifier: 10.1016/S0168-9002(02)01284-6
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