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Proceedings Paper

The Chandra X-ray Observatory data processing system
Author(s): Ian Evans; Mark Cresitello-Dittmar; Stephen Doe; Janet Evans; Giuseppina Fabbiano; Gregg Germain; Kenny Glotfelty; David Plummer; Panagoula Zografou
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Paper Abstract

Raw data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory are processed by a set of standard data processing pipelines to create scientifically useful data products appropriate for further analysis by end users. Fully automated pipelines read the dumped raw telemetry byte stream from the spacecraft and perform the common reductions and calibrations necessary to remove spacecraft and instrumental signatures and convert the data into physically meaningful quantities that can be further analyzed by observers. The resulting data products are subject to automated validation to ensure correct pipeline processing and verify that the spacecraft configuration and scheduling matched the observers request and any constraints. In addition, pipeline processing monitors science and engineering data for anomalous indications and trending, and triggers alerts if appropriate. Data products are ingested and stored in the Chandra Data Archive, where they are made available for downloading by users. In this paper, we describe the architecture of the data processing system, including the scientific algorithms that are applied to the data, and interfaces to other subsystems. We place particular emphasis on the impacts of design choices on system integrity and maintainability. We review areas where algorithmic improvements or changes in instrument characteristics have required significant enhancements, and the mechanisms used to effect these changes while assuring continued scientific integrity and robustness. We discuss major enhancements to the data processing system that are currently being developed to automate production of the Chandra Source Catalog.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 June 2006
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6270, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems, 62701U (30 June 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.672641
Show Author Affiliations
Ian Evans, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Mark Cresitello-Dittmar, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Stephen Doe, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Janet Evans, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Giuseppina Fabbiano, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Gregg Germain, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Kenny Glotfelty, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
David Plummer, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Panagoula Zografou, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6270:
Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems
David R. Silva; Rodger E. Doxsey, Editor(s)

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