XMM Users' Handbook

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Basic characteristics

The most important characteristics of XMM are compiled in Table 1. More detailed numbers will follow in the chapters on the individual instruments (below) and a comparison with other X-ray satellites is provided in § 3.7. The basic characteristics of XMM are:

Table 1: XMM characteristics - an overview
Instrument EPIC MOS EPIC pn RGS OM
Bandpass 0.1-15 keV 0.1-15 keV 0.35-2.5 keV1 160-600 nm
Orbital target vis.2 5-145 ks 5-145 ks 5-145 ks 5-145 ks
Sensitivity3 $\sim10^{-14~(4)}$ $\sim10^{-14~(4)}$ $\sim8\times10^{-5~~(15)}$ 24 mag13
Field of view (FOV) 30' 5 30' 5 $\sim 5'$ 17' 6
PSF ( FWHM/HEW)7 6''/15'' 6''/15'' N/A $\sim1''$
Pixel size 40 $\mu$m (1.1'') 150 $\mu$m (4.1'') 81 $\mu$m ( $9\times10^{-3}$ Å)14 0.5'' 8
Timing resolution9 1 ms 0.03 ms 16 ms 50 ms
Spectral resolution10 57 eV 67 eV 0.04/0.025 Å11 0.5/1.0 nm12
Notes to Table 1:
1) In the -1. grating order (wavelength range: 5-35 Å; $\lambda$ [Å] $\times$ E [keV] = 12.3984).
2) Total visibility per orbit; minimum of 5 ks in order to ensure observatory efficiency. Maximum continuous visibility is ca. 70 ks.
3) After 10 ks; cf. overview tables on the individual instruments.
4) In the range 0.1-15.0 keV, in units of erg s-1 cm-2, see § 3.3.9 for details.
5) See Fig. 15 for the detailed shape of the FOV.
6) Maximum window size that can be read out at a time: $8'\times8'$.
7) See Fig. 4 for a ground-calibraton point source measurement.
8) 1'' with default $2\times2$ binning. A higher resolution is achieved with the OM magnifier.
9) In the fastest data acquisition mode (i.e., fast mode for OM and EPIC, high time resolution mode for RGS, reading out only one of nine CCDs).
10) At 1 keV energy. At the energy of Fe K$\alpha $ (6.4 keV), the energy resolution of both EPIC cameras is ca. 130 eV.
11) In -1. and -2. order, resp.; at 1 keV, this corresponds to 3.2/2.0 eV (HEW).
12) With grism1 (UV) and grism2 (optical), respectively.
13) For a 1000 s white light filter observation of a B0 star; dependent on pointing direction (celestial background).
14) In spectroscopy mode (standard $3\times3$ pixel on-chip binning applied).
15) OVII 0.57 keV line flux in photons cm-2 s-1, for an integration time of 10 ks and a background of 10-4 photons cm-2 s-1 keV-1. More details are provided in § 3.4.5.

For a comparison of these basic characteristics with those of other past or contemporaneous X-ray satellite missions, see § 3.7.

More detailed information on the mirrors and on the instruments listed in Table 1 and their observing modes is provided in the following sections (§§ 3.2-3.5).

next up previous contents
Next: X-ray telescopes and mirrors Up: XMM - a concise Previous: XMM - a concise
European Space Agency - XMM Science Operations Centre