Chandra X-Ray Observatory
Skip to the navigation links
Last modified: 13 March 2017

What was the aimpoint of the observation?

The aimpoint is the location in chip coordinates on the detector where the target lands. The aimpoint coordinates also depend on whether a Y or Z offset was specified. This is different than the focal point, which is the location of the sharpest (narrowest) PSF. The focal point may also be called the "on-axis position".

The nominal aimpoints are not explicitly given in the data products since they are only used during proposal planning. The aimpoint of the observation has sky coordinates of approximately (4096.5,4096.5) for ACIS observations, (16384.5,16384.5) for HRC-I observations, and (32768.5,32768.5) for HRC-S observations. The aimpoint is different each proposal cycle because of thermal relaxation of spacecraft structures.

It is possible to use the data in table 6.4 of the POG and the tool dmcoords to convert the chip coordinates of nominal aimpoints to ra,dec and x,y and to determine what chip the aimpoint was on.

For an ACIS-I observation taken in Cycle 12:

unix% dmcoords evt2.fits asol=asol1.fits op=chip chip_id=3 chipx=944 chipy=993 

unix% pget dmcoords chip_id

unix% pget dmcoords x y                                                  

unix% pget dmcoords ra dec

In this example the aimpoint was on chip 3, which is also known as ACIS-I3. Note that this approach is not guaranteed to work if the event file was created by reproject_events.

For more details on the ACIS focal plane layout, see the Chapter 6 of the POG. There are also a number of talks from the Chandra Calibration Workshops.

The FAQ on RA and DEC NOM, TARG, and PNT header keywords has related information on the observation aimpoint on the on-axis position.

Last modified: 13 March 2017
Smithsonian Institute Smithsonian Institute

The Chandra X-Ray Center (CXC) is operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA.   Email: Smithsonian Institution, Copyright © 1998-2017. All rights reserved.