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Last modified: October 2012

AHELP for CIAO 4.6 Sherpa v1


Context: contrib


Write out the model spectrum in the form required by mkinstmap


save_instmap_weights( [id=None,] outfile [, clobber=False,
fluxtype="photon"] )


The save_instmap_weights() command writes out the current model values in the form expected by the CIAO mkinstmap tool. Please see the Calculating Spectral Weights thread for further information on how to use this routine.

Loading the routine

The routine can be loaded into Sherpa by saying:

from sherpa_contrib.utils import *


Name Default value Description
id None (which means use the value of get_default_id) Which dataset to use.
outfile The name of the file to create.
clobber True Should the file be overwritten if it already exists: True means yes, otherwise no.
fluxtype "photon" The units for the instrument map are cm^2 count / <fluxtype>. The valid options for this argument are "photon" (the default) or "erg".

Example 1

sherpa> dataspace1d(0.5, 7, 0.1)
sherpa> set_source(xsphabs.abs1 * powlaw1d.p1)
sherpa> abs1.nh = 0.07
sherpa> p1.gamma = 1.7
sherpa> plot_instmap_weights()
sherpa> save_instmap_weights("imap.dat")

We want to create a weights file for the energy range 0.5 to 7 keV, using an absorbed power law as the model.

The dataspace1d command is used to set the grid over which the model is evaluated; in this case we go from 0.5 to 7 keV with a step size of 0.1 keV. The next lines set the source model and set the relevant parameters. In this case we do not need to change the amplitude/normalization of the power law since the weights are normalized to a value of 1.0. If you had multiple source terms in your model expression then you would need to set the relative normalizations of the various components.

Finally we plot the weights and then save them to the ASCII file "imap.dat". This file can then be used as input to the spectrumfile parameter of mkinstmap.

Example 2

sherpa> save_instmap_weights(3, "wgts.dat")

The weights are calculated using the model and grid defined for dataset 3.

Example 3

sherpa> save_instmap_weights(3, "wgts.dat", False)

As in the previous example, the weights are calculated using the model and grid defined for dataset 3, but this time the routine will not overwrite wgts.dat if it already exists.

Example 4

sherpa> save_instmap_weights("wgts.dat", clobber=False)

The weights are calculated using the model and grid defined for the default dataset, and written to wgts.dat only if the file does not already exist.

Example 5

sherpa> save_instmap_weights("wgts.dat", fluxtype="erg")

The weights are calculated in order to create an instrument map with units of cm^2 count / erg rather than the default of cm^2 count / photon.


Calculating the weights when fluxtype="photon"

For a model spectrum which has units of photon/cm^2/s as a function of energy (i.e. the model is integrated across each bin, as is the case with X-Spec and Sherpa models), then the weights are calculated using the formula

weight_i = y_i / sum(y_i)

where sum(y_i) is the sum of the model spectrum over all the bins being used. These weights can then be used to create an instrument map with units of cm^2 count / photon.

Calculating the weights when fluxtype="erg"

In order to create an instrument map with units of cm^2 photon / erg, the weights are calculated using the following equation, where e_i is the energy of the ith bin in keV:

weight_i = y_i / (1.60217653e-09 * sum(e_i * y_i))

Unlike the default case - of fluxtype="photon" - these weights will not sum up to 1; typical values will vary between 1e7 and 1e9, depending on the bin width and spectral shape.

Creating the energy grid

The simplest way to create the grid is to use the dataspace1d command: if you want an instrument map created over the energy range e1 to e2 (in keV), then say

sherpa> dataspace1d(e1, e2, edelta)

where edelta is the width of each bin. The idea is to select a bin width over which the combination of effective area and detector sensitivity is approximately flat; too large a step size may result in an incorrect result, whereas too small a step size will result in increasing the processing time of mkinstmap. See the "Introduction to Exposure Maps" document for more information.

You can also use the energy grid defined by a PHA file, for example the following will use the energy bins in the range 0.5 to 7 keV:

sherpa> load_pha("src.pha")
sherpa> notice(0.5, 7)
sherpa> set_source( *
sherpa> gal.nh = 0.23
sherpa> pl.phoindex = 1.5
sherpa> save_instmap_weights("wgt.txt")

Creating an instrument and exposure map

The weights file created by save_instmap_weights() should be used as the value of the spectrumfile parameter of mkinstmap (in which case the monoenergy parameter is ignored). If fluxtype is "photon" (the default) then the resulting image will be in units of cm^2 count / photon; this can then be converted into an exposure map (using mkexpmap) with units of cm^2 count / photon or cm^2 count / photon / s (if normalize is set to yes or no respectively). If the fluxtype paramter if set to "erg" then the instrument map units will effectively be cm^2 count / erg and the corresponding exposure map will have units of cm^2 count / erg or cm^2 count / erg / s.

So, if you divide a counts image by the exposure map - created with normalize=no - then you will get an estimate of the flux per pixel in units of photon/cm^2/s (fluxtype="photon") or erg/cm^2/s (fluxtype="erg"). Note that this estimate depends strongly on how closely the source spectrum matches the one used to create the weights file; if the spectrum differs significantly then the estimate can easily be out by at least 50 or 100%. Care must therefore be taken when analyzing extended sources with variations in spectral shape, or when performing background subtraction, since the cosmic X-ray background is likely to have a different spectrum to the source.

Changes in the October 2012 release


The output file now contains comment lines that contain the low and high edges of the energy range, the model expression used to create the weights, and the file creation time. This information is used by fluximage, flux_obs, and merge_obs to create weighted exposure maps.


See the bugs pages on the Sherpa website for an up-to-date listing of known bugs.

See Also

estimate_weighted_expmap, get_instmap_weights, plot_instmap_weights, save_chart_spectrum, sherpa_utils
save_model, save_source
restore, save, save_all, save_arrays, save_data, save_delchi, save_error, save_filter, save_grouping, save_image, save_pha, save_quality, save_resid, save_staterror, save_syserror, save_table, script

Last modified: October 2012
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