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6 July 2018 The complicated evolution of the ACIS contamination layer over the mission life of the Chandra X-ray Observatory
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Abstract
The Chandra X-ray Observatory (CXO) was launched almost 19 years ago and has been delivering spectacular science over the course of its mission. The Advanced CCD Imager Spectrometer (ACIS) is the prime instrument on the satellite, conducting over 90% of the observations. The CCDs operate at a temperature of -120°C and the optical blocking filter (OBF) in front of the CCDs is at a temperature of approximately −60°C. The surface of the OBF has accumulated a layer of contamination over the course of the mission, as it is the coldest surface exposed to the interior to the spacecraft. We have been characterizing the thickness, chemical composition, and spatial distribution of the contamination layer as a function of time over the mission. All three have exhibited significant changes with time. There has been a dramatic decrease in the accumulation rate of the contaminant starting in 2017. The lower accumulation rate may be due to a decrease in the deposition rate or an increase in the vaporization rate or a combination of the two. We show that the current calibration file which models the additional absorption of the contamination layer is significantly overestimating that additional absorption by using the standard model spectrum for the supernova remnant 1E 0102.2-7219 developed by the International Astronomical Consortium for High Energy Calibration (IACHEC). In addition, spectral data from the cluster of galaxies known as Abell 1795 and the Blazar Markarian 421 are used to generate a model of the absorption produced by the contamination layer. The Chandra X-ray Center (CXC) calibration team is preparing a revised calibration file that more accurately represents the complex time dependence of the accumulation rate, the spatial dependence, and the chemical composition of the contaminant. Given the rapid changes in the contamination layer over the past year, future calibration observations at a higher cadence will be necessary to more accurately monitor such changes.
© (2018) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Paul P. Plucinsky, Akos Bogdan, Herman L. Marshall, and Neil W. Tice "The complicated evolution of the ACIS contamination layer over the mission life of the Chandra X-ray Observatory", Proc. SPIE 10699, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 106996B (6 July 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2312748
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