As a part of my Astronome post, I am required to spend 33% of my time on a "Service to the Astronomical Community" or tâche de service. My tâche de service is identified in the INSU AASO-05 section and concerns the XMM-Newton Survey Science Centre, which I have participated in since October 2000.
XMM-Newton is a European Space Agency (ESA) X-ray telescope launched in December 1999. It is composed of three separate telescopes, each with 58 concentric nesting mirrors that give a total collecting area of over 4500 cm2, making it a very sensitive telescope to X-rays. Behind each telescope is one of the EPIC (European Photon Imaging Camera) cameras, either one of the MOS (Metal Oxide Semiconducter) or the pn camera, useful for both spectro-imagery or timing. A beam splitter allows half of the flux that would fall on the MOS cameras to fall on the RGS (Reflection Grating Spectrographs) that are capable of high resolution (290 at 10 Angstroms, 520 at 20 Angstroms, and 800 at 35 Angstroms). There is also a small (30cm) ultra-violet/optical telescope on board, capable of both photometry and spectroscopy.
The IRAP is a member of the Survey Science Centre (SSC), where the IRAP group is led by myself. As part of our duties we have written, upkeep and still improve 10 software tasks for the Science Analysis System (SAS), used internationally for the reduction and analysis of XMM-Newton data. These tasks include elcplot, ekstest, especplot, backcorr, rgsspecplot, lcplot, omthlcplot, elcbuild, efftplot and part of ebadpixupdate. We regularly build the SAS on several different platforms to ensure that our tasks are compatible with the rest of the SAS and test to make sure other tasks build successfully on our platforms. We play a large role in the manual screening of all the data reduced automatically by the SAS pipeline at Leicester to verify the quality before it is sent out to the PI of the observation. This extends to screening the data for the two catalogues produced to date (1XMM and 2XMM Watson et al., 2009). These catalogues of all of the X-ray sources detected with XMM-Newton are continually evolving. Following the first catalogue of X-ray sources detected with XMM-Newton (1XMM) we have built succesfully bigger and more complex catalogues: 2XMM, made public on the 22nd August 2007, 2XMMi, made public on the 20th August 2008 and 2XMMi-DR3, made public on the 15th April 2010. This last catalogue contains results from 9 years of observing with XMM-Newton and includes 262902 unique X-ray sources taken from 4953 observations. We are currently preparing for the next version of the catalogue, 3XMM, which will use improved calibration and data reduction techniques and include new data products, which we are deeply involved in producing.
We also participate in the multi-wavelength follow-up and identification of a large sample (several thousand) of X-ray sources detected with XMM-Newton in order to statistically characterise the populations detected by XMM-Newton, see Barcons et al. (2002); Severgnini et al. (2003); Caccianiga et al. (2004); Barcons et al. (2007); Motch et al. (2010).