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ASDC Newsletter #12

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LAT Pass 8 data, the 2FHL catalog and other news from Fermi

Fermi LAT Pass 8 public data release
The Fermi mission is now serving public Pass 8 LAT data for scientific analysis. The new gamma-ray photon database is produced through a major effort of the international LAT collaboration and consists of a full reprocessing of the entire mission dataset, including improved particle event reconstruction in the detector, a wider energy range, better energy measurements, and significantly increased effective area (
Atwood et al. 2013, in eConf C121028, p.8). In addition, the detected events have been evaluated for their measurement quality in both position and energy. Pass 8 database is considered the best dataset for all types of LAT analysis, now distributed at FSSC and ASDC with the on-line data preview and elementary interactive analysis.
The 2FHL source catalog
A new LAT source catalog, the 2nd Catalog of Hard Fermi-LAT Sources, 2FHL, detected above 50 GeV in the first 80 months (i.e. 6.7 years) of all sky survey has been completed and published (
Ackermann et al. 2015, ApJ, in press). The 2FHL catalog makes use, for the first time, of the Pass 8 dataset allowing the detection and characterization of gamma-ray sources in the 50 GeV--2 TeV energy range. It is composed of 360 sources and is characterized by improved angular resolution and precise localization of point sources (i.e. 1.7′ radius at 68% confidence level) and detection and characterization of spatially extended sources. The 2FHL catalog is of particular interest for the next generation of Cherenkov telescopes and the CTA, because about 75% of the 2FHL sources have not been previously detected by existing VHE telescopes. The Fermi team at ASDC participated in the catalog construction, source counterpart association and part of the scientific analysis. A interactive 2FHL table and interface is online.
The ASDC team is also participating in the construction of a catalog of LAT sources detected on all-sky maps extracted in time intervals shorter than 1 year. The incremental lists of
LAT GRBs, GBM GRBs and GBM solar flares at ASDC are also updated.

Transient sky and LAT services
The rate of alerts, Astronomer's Telegrams (ATels), multifrequency ToO triggers (to Swift, Cherenkov telescopes, etc.) for interesting gamma-ray states, transients and potentially new sources is rather constant. Hard-gamma-ray states seem to be recently increased, thanks to the larger acceptance and statistics at high-energy with Pass 8 LAT data. For example, see the Fermi Gamma-ray Sky Blog, the list of published ATels and GCNs, the NASA press release on the 3C 279 record flare. These communications follows the continuous sky watching of the LAT Flare Adovcate (FA) service.  This year the Fermi ASDC team is providing LAT instrument operation shifts for about 20 weeks in the FA and Data Quality Monitor (DQM) services, in addition to FA activity coordination and participation to DQM co-supervision as duty scientist expert.  The team in also involved in co-coordination of the AGN and Catalog science groups. The participation to Pass 8 LAT data validation for AGN point source analysis, has led, in particular, to a follow-up variability study of gamma-ray and multifrequency (radio, optical, X-ray) data of the high energy peaked BL Lac object PG 1553+113, pointing out a potential interesting long-term behaviour (Ackermann et al. 2015, ApJ Lett, in press). This analysis and research has been driven by the Fermi team of ASDC in the frame of the senior scientists program of the center with also the participation of the local X-ray team for the part of Swift data analysis.
The 6th International Fermi Symposium
The next
6th International Fermi Symposium will be held in Washington this November. The symposium will focus on the new scientific investigations and results enabled by Fermi data, the mission and instrument characteristics, future opportunities, and coordinated multifrequency observations and analysis. It will be also followed by an informal multifrequency workshop to plan ways to optimize the Fermi and multifrequency observations to answer key open and interesting scientific questions.       



Latest news from the AGILE Data Center

New AGILE data distribution policy !
During the extended lifetime of the AGILE mission, a change in AGILE gamma-ray scientific data policy, proposed by the Mission Board, has been approved by ASI to strengthen the engagement of the Scientific Community by eliminating the one year proprietary period requirement.

Starting from October 2015, all AGILE-GRID data will be published soon after they are processed and validated, about 4 times a year.

The new public AGILE archive now contains all data from December 1, 2007 up to June 30, 2015, i.e. from Observation Block (OB) 4900 start of Cycle-1, up to OB 21700 of on-going Cycle-8 data taking. AGILE data are available from the ASDC Multimission Archive
(MMIA) webpage for the AGILE Mission.

The new AGILE Cycle-7 and Cycle-8 data which become public on October 5, 2015 were obtained with AGILE observing a large portion of the sky in spinning mode, and they have been processed with the latest available software and calibrations.
AGILE enhanced TGF detection rate
In March 2015 the AGILE satellite underwent a major configuration change aimed at the inhibition of the anti-coincidence veto signal on the MCAL instrument, in order to improve the Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGF) detection performance. The configuration change resulted in a TGF detection rate improvement of one order of magnitude with respect to the previous on-board configuration.


The online version of the second AGILE TGF catalog below 30 MeV (Marisaldi et al., Geophys. Res. Lett., 2015), detected during the period March 2015 - June 2015 with the new configuration is available here.

The new AGILE configuration provides the largest TGF detection rate surface density, opening prospects for improved correlation studies with lightning and atmospheric parameters on short spatial and temporal scales along the equatorial region.

AGILE: 8 and counting
"AGILE: 8 and counting" was the title of the 13th AGILE Workshop celebrating the eighth anniversary of the launch of the AGILE satellite, successfully held in ASI on May 25-26, 2015. The slides of all contributions are publicly available
at the workshop website.

A special ASI-TV report by G. Pulcrano was dedicated to AGILE in this occasion. The video (in italian) can be viewed at
this link.



NuSTAR 7th Data Release and new version of Analysis Software

The 7th release of NuSTAR scientific data archive (Data Release 7, DR7) has been available  at the ASDC since september 17, 2015. This new release constitutes the final primary mission data release and contains a total of 1750 data sets.
A new version (v.1.5.1) of the NuSTAR Data Analysis Software (NuSTARDAS), the official package to process the NuSTAR scientific data, has been
distributed as a sub-package in the HEASARC's HEASoft multi-mission software (v.6.17 release). The updated NuSTARDAS data analysis software guide is also available.

The NuSTARDAS software package, developed by the ASDC in close collaboration with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), is designed to reduce NuSTAR raw data to generate cleaned and calibrated scientific products such as event files, energy spectra, light-curves, sky images, exposure maps, ARFs and RMFs. All the NuSTAR public data at ASDC are fully integrated in the ASDC Multi-Mission Interactive Archive (MMIA). Through the MMIA the user can perform on-line analysis of all NuSTAR public observations, without the need to download any software, including the extraction of high-level scientific products (cleaned event files, sky images, energy spectra, light-curves, ARFs and RMFs).
The Mission.
NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) was launched in June 2012 under NASA's Small Explorer program. The primary science objectives are the study of the hottest, densest and most energetic phenomena in the universe, including the physics of massive black holes and collapsed stars, the explosion dynamics and nucleosynthesis in supernovae, and the particle acceleration in relativistic jets in Active Galactic Nuclei.
The Italian participation to NuSTAR includes a) the provision of the Malindi ground station (ASI), b) the support of the ASI Science Data Center (ASDC), which has developed and maintains the NuSTARDAS data analysis software package and hosts an official mirror of the NuSTAR scientific data archive, and c) a team of scientists of the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) and of Italian Universities to collaborate on the primary scientific mission goals.

For more details on NuSTAR see:



MATISSE v1.1 now online with major upgrades

A new version of MATISSE (Multi-purpose Advanced Tool for Instruments for the Solar System Exploration) has been released. The most noticeable features introduced with the version 1.1 now online are:  

• access to public datasets do not require any registration: just go to the MATISSE homepage and make the query; 

• possibility to access and visualize data from MDIS-NAC camera onboard NASA MESSENGER mission to Mercury. This dataset is archived by PDS and is accessible through the NASA ODE REST API: therefore data do not reside directly in the ASDC storage. This new implementation could be expanded to other missions, instruments and targets on user request;

• 2 new output formats, better suited for planetary geology studies, are introduced: GeoTIFF and ENVI (IMG+HDR) files, are now includedin the data downloadable from the final page of MATISSE;

• users belonging to the MoonMapping project can now access Chang'E-2 50 meters per pixel resolution ortophoto maps. In this case the high-resolution 3D visualization for Paraview is created using  LOLA 512 ppd (60 m/pixel) elevation maps.  

Further info can be found in the user manual. For any question or suggestion please contact        


  The 2nd edition of the TeGeV Catalogue at ASDC

In July 2015, the second edition of the “TeGeV Catalogue” has been published on the ASDC web pages ( The TeGeVcat is a catalogue of TeV gamma-ray sources detected by ground-based Cherenkov detectors (like imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes and water Cherenkov detectors). The catalogue collects all the information publicly available from the literature about the TeV sources, like: 

• the celestial coordinates of the centroid position of the TeV excess, with its statistical and systematic errors;
• source extension (if present) and orientation.
• spectral information about the TeV detection (differential flux normalization, normalization energy, power-law spectrum spectral index, other spectral form, etc.);
• observation period and bibliographic reference;

and so on. All these information are displayed following the standard ASDC Catalogue format.

Furthermore, the catalogue contains public light curves as well as source spectral information automatically available from the ASDC SED Builder tool, accessible via the “ASDC Data Explorer” tool. For some sources, different observations performed by the TeV experiments in different epochs are available.

This 2nd edition of the catalogue contains 155 confirmed TeV sources. With respect to the first edition, some quantities derived by a further elaboration of the literature data have been added, like:

• the positional error circle around the TeV source position, calculated by the statistical and systematic errors on the Celestial (or Galactic) coordinates of the TeV excess centroid;
• the integral flux above 1 TeV, calculated using the spectral information extracted from the literature (when available).

A written contribution about the ASDC TeGeV Catalogue have been presented to the last 34th International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC) held in The Netherlands from July 30th to August 6th, 2015 (astro-ph
arXiv:1510.08681 ).



The 5th Edition of the Roma-BZCAT at ASDC

BZCATThe 5th Edition of the Roma-BZCAT Multifrequency Catalog of blazars is available on-line at ASDC.  The Roma-BZCAT (paper of the 5th edition  and volume of the 5th edition) is the largest compilation of AGN whose emission properties are recognized as typical of blazars. The catalog, originally conceived as a tool for the identification of counterparts of gamma-ray sources, is based on multifrequency surveys and on an extensive review of literature data for each individual source.

This catalog edition includes 3561 blazars, about 16% more than in the 3rd Edition of 2011, many of which discovered in very recent surveys. The catalogue has relevant changes in the sources' classification and has a new format for the notes in the table. The majority of the sources in the catalog (1909 objects) are Flat Spectrum Radio Quasars (FSRQs), 1059 are confirmed BL Lac objects  while 92 are reported as candidates, 227 are reported as blazar of uncertain classification and 274 are BL Lac objects markedly dominated by the host galaxy.
Each source is identified by the number 5 followed by a three-letter code, where the first two letters are BZ for blazars and the third one specifies the type, followed by the truncated celestial equatorial, J2000, coordinates. 5BZB is for confirmed BL Lac objects; 5BZG is a BL Lac object having a spectral energy distribution (SED) with a significant dominance of the host galaxy;  5BZQ is for FSRQ; 5BZU is for blazars of uncertain type.

The goals of this catalog are: to provide the community for the most comprehensive list of published blazar-type sources; to have a list of extragalactic objects useful for the identification of high-energy sources, useful for population studies at microwaves/far-IR/mid-IR bands. The catalog is not complete in any statistical sense and suffers of a degree of non-uniformity because of the smaller number of radio-optical surveys in the southern hemisphere. The continuation of large surveys covering bands from radio to gamma rays and the development of large observatories like SKA and CTA, will improve our knowledge of this interesting class of cosmic accelerators.



The ASDC SED builder tool V3.2

The ASDC SED Builder is a web-based software service developed and managed at ASDC that is rapidly becoming a popular tool for the generation of Spectral Energy Distributions (SEDs) of astrophysical sources and for the handling multi-frequency and time-domain astronomical data. Based on a Java code and on a MySQL database system, it provides different functionalities and several plotting options (see, e.g., Newsletter #9).
The newly released version (V3.2) incorporates important improvements and new features. The most notable ones include:

the addition of a number of recently released catalogs (e.g. Fermi 3LAC, Fermi 2FHL, Planck  PCCS2,  XMM 3DR5,  XMM SL1D6 etc.);

the possibility to export the displayed data in SuperMongo, QDP, .ps and .eps formats;

transparent access to bibliographic information through NED and ADS;


the access to data from published papers. At the moment data from about 50 publications are available, mostly spectra from BeppoSAX and from VHE Cherenkov telescopes. 


Note that these data sets are provided by the authors with the understanding that, in case they are re-used in other publications, proper credit to the original work must be given. The complete list of publications used in each SED is downloadable in various formats (including bibtex) by clicking on “Data citation policy”. Authors of publications wishing to provide open access to their data through the ASDC SED tool can contact us by sending e-mail to the ASDC helpdesk.



 The European Researchers Night 2015 at ASI

More than 1000 visitors, many children with their families among the other, attended to the 10th Edition of the "European Researchers' Night" on 25th September 2015 hosted in Italian Space Agency Headquarters in Rome. Among the other exhibitions promoted by ASI (see the dedicated ASI webpage and here a list of the performed event and exhibits) the ASDC researchers illustrated the space missions in which they are involved.

The following missions, Planck, Fermi, AMS-02, GAIA, AGILE, Herschel, Rosetta, Swift, Cheops and the CTA project were presented showing spacecraft models and mission/project information brochures and panels. A seminar for the public was held
about the Rosetta mission.  During the "Ehi Kids! Lab", ASDC Researchers guided the children to the discovery of visible and infrared light characteristics using the "Herschel experience", pictures taken by thermal camera and a rainbow formation game.

Born in 2005, the European Researchers Night involves every year thousands of academic and research institute personnel, scientists, researchers, technicians, engineers, and non-professional amateurs of every age in all the European Countries. The event has the scope to promote the scientific culture and its value for the society and economy and the potentialities that research professions can offer.