PACS instrument and calibration web pages
This page provides up-to-date information, documents, reports, and links about the PACS instrument, from preparing observations, through reducing and calibrating PACS observations, to working with PACS maps and cubes.
You can also consult the PACS NHSC homepage
Important message about drizzled cubes in HIPE 13
Due to an oversight in the pipeline scripts of HIPE 13, the drizzled cubes you get for chop-nod line scan
observations created by "SPG 13" will have incorrect fluxes. Therefore you should not use the drizzled cubes downloaded from the HSA if the Meta datum "creator" is "SPG 13.0", whether they are within the ObservationContext
at Level 2, or part of a Standalone Browse Product download. Any drizzled cubes created for unchopped mode observations will be unaffected. For chop-nod range scan observations, drizzled cubes are not created by the SPG 13 pipeline anyway. This oversight will be corrected in HIPE/SPG 14.
For the affected observations you have the following alternatives:
For Your Information
- Use the projected cubes instead, which you will also find within the ObservationContext at Level 2, but which are not part of the Standalone Browse Product download for the affected observations.
- Run one of the interactive pipeline scripts to create the drizzled cubes yourself. Contact the Herschel Helpdesk first to ask for an updated pipeline script to do this, since the interactive pipeline scripts in HIPE 13 (and 12) also contain the mistake.
: Drizzled cubes FITS files, and their name as listed in an ObservationContext
, are: HPS3DD
[R|B] (red and blue) Standalone browse product drizzled cube FITS files, and their name as listed in an ObservationContext
in the browse product section are: HPS3DEQ
[R|B] (red and blue, equidistant wavelength grid version of the drizzled cubes). Projected cubes have the name: HPS3DP
For more information about the standard and the standalone browse cubes provided for PACS spectroscopy, see the PACS Products Explained HIPE help document (which is also linked as a PDF file in the Data Reduction section).
Important message about Unimap maps in HIPE 13
Some Unimap maps show overshooting effects around very bright sources that are surrounded by a diffuse and relatively faint background. See, as an example, the blue image of NGC253
(obsID: 1342221743). This effect is due to a not optimised convergence of the GLS algorithm and it will be corrected in HIPE/SPG14.
Observing with PACS
- The PACS Observer's Manual HTML PDF (11 Mb), version 2.3, 8-June-2011 : the first thing to read before applying for time with PACS (or even before working on PACS data for the first time), as it tells you how the instrument works. This includes:
- A description of the layout and the components of the PACS photometer and spectrometer
- A description of the scientific capabilities of the instrument: spectral response functions, sensitivity values, point spread functions, astrometric accuracy, flux calibration information
- A description of the standard observing templates used to set up PACS observations; here you can also find the various acronyms that are used in the PACS data reduction guides
- A brief description of PACS data products
- AOT Release Notes: dedicated release notes per AOT (the astronomer's observing template, i.e. the observing time planning).
- Information about how the various standard observing blocks work
- Summaries of transmission functions, sensitivity, etc. for use in your observing planning (similar to what you will find in the Observer's Manual)
- Here you can also find the various acronyms that are used elsewhere in PACS documentation
- The PACS fact sheet
- A collection of Key information of PACS is provided on the NHSC web site.
Although we are now in the post-operations phase of the mission, the PACS OM and the AOT release notes can still be useful to read for a background understanding on how PACS data were gathered
The In-flight scientific capabilities of the PACS instrument are also given in this paper: The Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) on the Herschel Space Observatory
(1.5 Mb), Poglitsch et al., 2010, A&A, 518, L2
PACS calibration and performance
Data processing known issues of standard products
for photometry and spectroscopy: Bulk-processed Level 2/2.5 products are provided in the Herschel Science Archive. This Data Processing Known Issues page
describes typical problems and caveats the observer needs to be familiar when looking at the results of this "SPG" (standard product generation) processing. Aspects of product quality which can be further optimised by interactive processing are also summarised here. The document refers to the version of data processing pipeline currently being used for processing of incoming Herschel data.
Photometer calibration in scan maps
- Point Spread Function/Encircled Energy Fraction : PACS Photometer Point Spread function (10 Mb), version 2.2, 16 November 2015. A detailed document of the in-flight observed PSF and of the derivation of the EEF curves. The accompanying TAR file can be downloaded here (79 MB). It contains the Vesta PSFs FITS files and the EEF tables for all the scanning modes.
- Herschel/PACS modelled point spread functions (3.1 Mb) is a related document presenting Zemax modelled point spread functions for both an `ideal' and an 'as built' Herschel telescope model. Tarballs with corresponding broad-band and monochromatic PSFs for these two cases are at http://pacs.ster.kuleuven.ac.be/pubtool/PSF. These are useful in addition to the observed PSFs but cannot replace them, since the models do not capture all effects found in the observed PSFs.
- Point-source photometry: PACS uses 5 stars as primary calibrators with fluxes ranging from 0.6 to 15 Jy, plus fainter stars and asteroids as secondary calibrators. The absolute flux scale accuracy is dominated by the model uncertainties and amounts to 5% in the 3 filter bands. At the same time, the reproducibility for a given non-variable point source is better than 2% for all PACS bands. The flux calibration is described in detail in Balog et al, 2013, Experimental Astronomy and confirmed with asteroids in Müller et al., 2013, Experimental Astronomy.
- Point-source photometry in deep PACS maps/surveys: The effect of the high-pass filter data reduction technique on the PACS Photometer PSF, point-source photometry, and noise has been investigated in depth in this technical note.
- Colour corrections:
- Extended emission photometry: Three technical reports which assess the extended emission (or surface brightness) measured from PACS data and compare that to IRAS and Spitzer/MIPS data:
- Assessment analysis of the extended emission calibration for the PACS red channel, version 1.0, April 2012: latest results on the comparison of extended emission in the PACS red channel (i.e. 160um) with corresponding data from Spitzer/MIPS 160um
- Experiments in photometric measurements of extended sources (3.2 Mb), (report SAp-PACS-MS-0718-11, March 18, 2011). This report compares photometry of large extended galaxies (using large apertures) between PACS, IRAS and MIPS
- Surface brightness comparison of PACS blue array with IRAS and Spitzer/MIPS images (1 Mb), (report PICC-NHSC-TN-029, v1.01, 12 April 2011). This report summarises pixel-to-pixel comparisons between extended emission as measured between PACS, IRAS and MIPS
- We refer to the paper , G. Aniano et al. (2011) for kernels and associated routines (IDL) to match spatial resolution between several infrared instruments PSFs (PACS, SPIRE, Spitzer/MIPS, Spitzer/IRAC, WISE) as well as GALEX (UV) and other PSF families (gaussian, bi-gaussian, Moffat)
- Chop/nod observations:
- Chop/nod observations were not used for scientific observations during the mission, however they were heavily used for the photometry monitoring and well as numerous observations for the pointing accuracy check/monitoring. See Nielbock et al., 2013, Experimental Astronomy for the time dependent flux calibration for the PACS chopped point-source photometry AOT mode.
A new responsivity calibration (version) is deployed on the HCSS 7 track (this is explained in the internal report PICC-ME-TN-033 v1.01, where the associated encircled energy fraction [EEF] is given). This improves the accuracy of photometry to 3% in the blue channel and 5% in the red channel. "PACS photometer point-source flux calibration
(3.1 Mb) (PICC-ME-TN-037), version 1.0, 12 April 2011.
We refer to: PACS Photometer: chop/nod point-source & mini-scan map AOT release note
: (2 Mb) version 2.0, 12 November 2010. We recommend you use the mini scan-map technique in all science cases related to point-sources, compact sources and also in cases of faint extended emission around point-sources. The chop/nod mode is no longer recommended for use
* However, for a technical assessment of the original chop/nod
mode sensitivity intended for point-sources, we refer to SAp-PACS-MS-0711-09
(5.5 Mb) and to the paper "The Herschel PACS photometer calibration - A time dependent flux calibration for the PACS chopped point-source photometry AOT mode"
for the calibration of that mode
- Four fundamentally different map-makers are offered in HIPE 13 with interactive pipeline scripts, starting from Level 1. These map-makers are used in different ways to generate standard products ("SPG" product) provided by the Herschel Science Archive: high-pass filtering is applied to generate Level2 products, while Unimap and JScanam are used to create Level2.5 products. Level3 products are mosaics of Level2.5 products that belong to the same sky field and to the same observing program.
- Highpass filtering branch, where the bolometer timelines are high-pass filtered to remove the 1/f noise, but at the expense of extended emission. It provides optimum sensitivity to point-sources
- MADmap, a GLS (generalised least square) map-maker, that allows one to preserve extended emission at all scales. MADMap is not used anymore in the SPG processing, but it is still available as an interactive script.
- Unimap, a light (memory-wise) GLS map-maker from Lorenzo Piazzo ('La Sapienza' University of Rome) under a free Matlab runtime environment, with advanced pre-processing (drift correction, jump detection) and post-processing stages (bright sources). The runUnimap task is used to invoke the Unimap Matlab routine on the users's computer.
- JScanam, a Java-version of the IDL Scanamorphos map-maker, an IDL map-maker from Hélène Roussel (IAP) with an advanced and powerful destriper for PACS maps.
- A report of the map-making working group compiled by Roberta Paladini is available: PACS map-making tools: analysis and benchmarking, 1 Nov. 2013.
- An updated version of that report, concentrating on JScanam, MADmap and Unimap in their latest versions is available: PACS map-making tools: analysis and benchmarking, 30 March 2014.
- If you are using data with SPG v 12 or reducing data with HIPE 12, remember that the optical field distortion in not applied at level 1. As a result, external map-makers starting from level 1 have a systematic flux overestimate of 6-7% in the red channel and a lower underestimate (~2%) in the blue channel of the flux scale.
<!-- This is corrected for MADmap in HIPE 12 by the task convertToFixedPixelSize() at the end of level1. The flux difference come from the fact that the mean values of the optical flat are significantly different from 1, in other words it cannot be assumed by external map-makers that the pixel sizes is constant of the field of view at 3.2"/6.4 in the blue/red channel respectively. Scanamorphos and Unimap are also affected, but not JScanam that makes use of photProject.-->
PACS spectrometer calibration
- PACS Spectrometer performance and calibration: The PACS Spectrometer Calibration Document v2.4 (16-June-2011) provides details on the calibration accuracy and the necessary information to optimally interpret PACS spectroscopy observations. (Please note, this document refers to the calibration status and performance of pipeline version v8.0. An update compatible with HIPE v13 release will be provided soon.) This includes:
- flux calibration accuracies for chop nod and unchopped observations
- the beam efficiencies and the PACS integral field footprint
- spectral leakages and ghosts
- wavelength calibration, including information on a skew our native line profile develops as a point source moves off the centre of a spaxel
- table of the point source correction factors for different wavelengths
- The calibration of the spectrometer is based on repeated measurements of planets, asteroids, and stars. The RMS scatter of these measurements are just over 10% within any spectral band, about the same when comparing different spaxels, and similar (but higher in the red) when looking for broad-band features within any band. See the PACS Spectrometer Calibration Document for the exact numbers. These calibration certainties are independent, and should be combined when quoting calibration errors.
- An explanation of the data errors for any particular observation is provided in the PACS Data Reduction Guide for spectroscopy (sec. 7.6 in the HIPE 13 version of the document)
- PACS spectrometer beams, version 3, can be downloaded here: PCalSpectrometer_Beam_v3.tar.gz. These beams are based on measurements of a raster with step size 2.5" around Neptune. These beam maps are useful e.g. if you want to compare to the flux distribution of your observation of a point source. Version 3 has the beam efficiencies for all IFU spaxels, and is a drastic improvement wrt version 2 as the spacecraft pointing was reconstructed more accurately. This reconstruction resulted in a non-equidistant sampling of the beam efficiency in the sky, but the beam products offered are equidistantly-sampled on a grid of 0.5 arcseconds. Each beam is normalised to the fitted peak value of the central spaxel. The WCS associated with the beam is in sky coordinates for position angle 0. The central part of the beam is the Gaussian fit to the measured beam efficiencies. This has been verified to be a very good description on the different raster observations we have of the central spaxels for wavelengths longer than 80 micron. Below 80 micron, the actual beam shows the square detector footprint, and the Gaussian approximation in the beam products v3 over-predicts the real beam efficiency by 1.5 to 2 percent. The outer part of the beams contains the interpolated values of the irregularly sampled measurements. Version 3 of the spectrometer beams are sharper than version 2, and shows the ghosts (ghosts are discussed in the Spectrometer Calibration Document ) more clearly, as well as the three-lobe structure of the Herschel telescope PSF.
- The raw data from which the PACS spectrometer beams (all versions) have been derived is also available as tables (y, z offset - signal):
- SpecSpatial_BeamEfficiency_central_spaxel_tables_v1.tar.gz:This contains a FITS file for each wavelength measured for the central spaxel only. Raw data of the coarse and fine rasters are combined. The array dimension of the fits file is [3,npoints] where the first column gives the y raster position, the 2nd column the z raster position and the 3rd column the normalised flux measured at this raster position.
- SpecSpatial_BeamEfficiency_tables_v1.tar.gz: Raw measurements PACS beams - all spaxels, coarse raster measurements only: each fits files corresponds to one wavelength. Each file contains the data for all spaxels of the coarse raster measurement only. Each fits file holds an array of 3x25x25x25 where: (0,25,25,25)=y raster position, (1,25,25,25)=z raster position, (2,25,25,25)=flux normalized to the central spaxel. The second and third dimensions are the raster position indices (y and z) and the last dimension is the module number (=spaxel number).
- Point source observations. To extract and calibrate the spectrum of a point source, it is necessary to use one of the tasks provided: it is not enough to add up the field-of-view of use the central spaxel only. How to do this is documented in the PACS DRG for spectroscopy.
- Telescope background model: a script to compute the telescope background model calibration tables and a technical note explaining the method used can be found here. Warning: the calibration tables computed with this script are not the same as the ones in the calibration tree. See the technical note for details.
PACS calibration file versions
- When starting HIPE, you will be informed if new calibration files are available. Clicking on 'show details' will show you the release note of the new calibration set, with details about the changes. This is further explained in the PDRGs. Clicking on 'Install' will install the latest calibration files.
- The history of the calibration files that have been released to the community is provided here: PACS Calibration File History.
- You can inspect the release notes for the calibration sets installed on your machine from within HIPE. Open the Calibration Sets View from the menu Window -> Show Views -> Workbench.
Reducing PACS data
A brief introduction to reducing PACS data in HIPE. You can consult the PACS Data Reduction Guides (photometry and spectroscopy; available via HIPE) for more detail.
- PACS data are reduced with pipeline scripts which are a set of command-line tasks that process the data from Level 0 (raw) to Level 2/2.5 (science-ready). There is more than one flavour of pipeline script, tailored to different types of science target, AOT, and observing plan. These 'interactive' pipeline scripts are provided in HIPE and explained in the data reduction guides.
- The data you get from the the HSA will have been processed by the 'SPG' (Standard Product Generator) using one pipeline script flavour per AOT. Which script is used is documented in the PDRG.
- The SPG scripts include all the stable pipeline tasks within those scripts, with task settings that correspond to the most common type of science target for each AOT. But some pipeline tasks still can only be run via the interactive pipeline scripts, and to modify the parameter settings for the important pipeline tasks also requires you re-process the data. The Launch Pads (see below) include a guide to understanding the pipeline scripts and how to decide whether to reprocess your data and if so, with which script.
- For a explanation of PACS products, i.e. what you get when you download a complete or part of an observation from the HSA, see the PACS Products Explained, which can also be found on the HIPE help pages.
HIPE, data reduction documentation, and useful links for data issues
- HIPE (Herschel Interactive Processing Environment) is the tool used to inspect, reduce, and analyse Herschel data. The latest User Release HCSS (Herschel common science system) version that you should use for reducing PACS data is HIPE v13.0 It can be downloaded from: http://herschel.esac.esa.int/HIPE_download.shtml. In the CIB (continuous integration build) this version corresponds to Track 13, build 5130. The CIB is the continuously bug-fixed/upgraded/improved version of HIPE, which every few months (in the beginning of the mission) or yearly (in the post-operations phase) becomes a stable User Release.
- Within HIPE you can access all the PACS data reduction documentation and the general HCSS and HIPE user documentation for Track 13 here. The documentation provided via HIPE opens in a web browser, but for those of you who prefer PDF, we include the PACS Data Reduction Guides as PDF files here (note that within the standalone pdf versions, external links will not work):
- The what's new in HIPE 13 page lists the changes in HIPE version 13.x with respect to the 12.x series, and provides a detailed list of updated functionalities, product changes, and calibration aspects.
- The Data products known issues page details issues about the pipelines or the data products that are known about and offers advice for dealing with them. Consult this if you encounter problems with your data to see if it has already been addressed.
- Link to the General HCSS Public Twiki page (with general framework information and updates): http://herschel.esac.esa.int/twiki/bin/view/Public/WebHome
Cookbooks and interactive pipeline scripts
- The various interactive pipeline scripts PACS photometry and spectroscopy provide in HIPE can be seen as cookbooks, since they take you through each pipeline, task by task, explaining briefly what each task does, commenting on the more crucial pipeline tasks, and showing you how to plot, image, visualise and inspect your data as you work through the pipeline. An example public observation is included with each so you can test it out before using it on your data. These data reduction scripts are available in HIPE under the menu: Pipeline --> PACS --> Photometer/Spectrometer.
- The PACS Launch Pad from HIPE 13 for photometry is provided here. The PACS Launch Pad from HIPE 13 for spectroscopy is provided here. These are taken from the first chapters of the respective PDRGs and are a useful quick-start guide to loading your data into HIPE, looking at them, and then what to know and do before you begin reprocessing your data with one of the pipelines. Also included is
- why we recommend you do re-pipeline your data
- what you need to pay attention to for different types of astronomical source
- what the crucial pipeline tasks are
- what the post-pipeline processing tasks that we provide are
Tutorials and scripts
- The Scripts menu in HIPE takes you to a set of PACS photometry and spectroscopy useful scripts. In HIPE 13 these are:
- Point source aperture photometry
- Multiple point source aperture photometry
- Image convolution (photometry)
- Combine PACS and SPIRE point source spectra
- Point source corrections: for a source located in the central spaxel of the field-of-view, and for a source located elsewhere
- Post-processing tasks for extended sources
- Off subtraction and post-processing for unchopped range spectroscopy
- Fitting mapping observations: for mosaic cubes and on the pre-mosaic cubes
- Fitting single pointing cubes
- Re-creating the standalone browse products
- Convolution for spectral images
- See the various walkthroughs on the NHSC PACS page.
- The Nasa Herschel Science center (NHSC) has also posted some PACS Data Processing Tutorials.
- HIPE Academy on YouTube: here you can find recordings of various seminars and webinars that the HSC have given on working in HIPE, reducing Herschel data, using various tools to visualise and manipulate data in HIPE, and etc.
Quick links: wavelengths, sensitivity, PSFs
A summary of instrumental and calibration details that a data-reducing astronomer often wants know.
- Wavelength ranges, resolution, band names
- The blue bands are B2A (blue, second order) and B2B (green, second order), and B3A (blue, third order), and in the red we have R1 (first order)
- The wavelength ranges and resolutions can be found in table 4.1 of the ( PACS Observer's Manual) * Spectral leaks: there is order leakage in our filters that affects the ends of the blue and red bands. These are documented as figures in sec. 4.1 of the PACS Spectrometer Calibration Document and again in sec. 4.8 of the PACS Observer's Manual . How to deal with the red leakage by reducing the data with a particular calibration file is documented in the PACS spectrometer data reduction guide (secs 5.3 and 6.4 in the HIPE 13 version).
- Second-pass spectral ghosts: see sec. 4.2 of the PACS Spectrometer Calibration Document to learn about ghosts. These are bright spectral lines at one wavelength "echoing" to another wavelength in another spaxel. This is also documented in sec. 4.9 of the PACS Observer's Manual * The footprint of the integral field unit: text and figures showing the footprint of the PACS IFU, and how that compares to the beam, can be found in the PACS Spectrometer Calibration Document (sec. 3) where you will also find information about the beam maps (at high spatial resolution and for various wavelengths), beam efficiencies, and the point source loss corrections. The same information can be found in the PACS Observer's Manual (sec. 4.6).
- The FWHM of a point source (i.e. of the beam): this information can be found in fig. 4.12 of the PACS Observer's Manual and again in the PACS Spectrometer Calibration Document
- Spectral line profile skews for off-centred sources: point sources that are not centrally located in a spaxel will show a skew to their spectral lines. The effect of this is to move the peak wavelength and slightly change the measured FWHM. Some calibration of this has been done and this can be found in sec. 4.7.2 and 4.7.3 of the PACS Observer's Manual and sec. 5.2 of the PACS Spectrometer Calibration Document.
- Calibration certainties: these are all documented in the beginning of the PACS Spectrometer Calibration Document. Data errors are discussed in the PACS DRG for spectroscopy (sec. 7.6 in the HIPE 13 version).
- Expected signal-to-noise ratios and line sensitivity: this depends on the AOT, this information is also provided in the AOT Release Notes (see also update in sec. 6.1.3 of the PACS Observer's Manual) and can also be computed by running HSPOT.
- Filters and bands
- The blue and green bands are not observed simultaneously, the red is observed simultaneously with each. Transmission functions can be found in the PACS Observer's Manual sec. 3.2.
- PSF and beams: the beams maps are provided as FITS files, and information about then can be found in the section 'Photometer calibration in scan maps'
- Point source photometry
- Colour corrections: these are provided on this page in the section 'Photometer calibration in scan maps'
- Aperture corrections/EEFs (encircled energy fractions) are provided in sec. 8 of the PACS Photometer Point Spread function document. See the section 'Photometer calibration in scan maps' on this page.
- Effects of nonlinearity, saturation, stray light, crosstalk and ghosts: can be found in sec. 6 of the PACS Photometer Point Spread function document
- Calibration certainty: is discussed on this page in the section 'Photometer calibration in scan maps'), with links there to two publications. You can also read sec 3.3 of the PACS Observer's Manual
- Sensitivity: this depends on the AOT, this information is also provided in the AOT Release Notes, and can also be computed by running HSPOT.