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Nov 07, 2023

Euclid's first images

Today, the ESA’s Euclid space mission has revealed its first full-colour images obtained combining observations from the visible and near infrared instruments.

These five images illustrate Euclid's full potential, from bright stars to faint galaxies. Its observations will cover one third of the sky remaining extremely detailed, even when zooming in on distant galaxies.

Here at SSDC, we have been working on the development of the software used to process the images observed in the near infrared.

For more details see ESA web page and ESA YouTube channel.

Oct 10, 2023

Gaia Focused Product released on 10 October 2023!

Waiting for Gaia DR4 release, expected not before the end of 2025, and just a few months from Gaia 10th launch anniversary (19 December 2023), the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium is releasing a juicy subset of new data focused on specific subjects.
In particular, this release consists of 5 data products:
  1. Astrometry and photometry from engineering images taken in Omega Centauri high source density region.
    The publication consists mainly of:
    • Astrometric information (position, parallax and proper motion) for 526,457 new Gaia sources as derived from the Service Interface Function (SIF) images (with 130 additional sources with positions only).
    • Photometric information (mean G magnitude and flux) for these same 526,587 sources as derived from the SIF images.
  2. Extended radial velocity epoch data for Long Period Variables.
    The publication consists mainly of:
    • A table with the epoch radial velocity data points for a sub-set of variable stars.
    • Statistical parameters of radial velocity time series for these long-period variables.
  3. Diffuse Interstellar Bands from aggregated RVS spectra.
    The publication consists mainly of:
    • A table of fitted Diffuse Interstellar Band parameters together with the uncertainties of the DIB at 862.1 nm and 864.8 nm for each voxel (volume pixel) which is defined according to the equatorial coordinates and the distance.
    • A spectra table containing the stacked Interstellar Medium spectra for each voxel which is defined according to the galactic coordinates and the distance.
  4. The first results of quasars' environment analysis for gravitational lenses search.
    The publication consists mainly of:
    • A table of 4.8 million sources (named components), based on an analysis of the observations in the neighbourhood of a list of 3.8 million quasar candidates. This table provides the mean astrometry and mean onboard photometry of the sources.
    • The analysis of this table by several artificial intelligence algorithms led to the selection of a list of 381 gravitational lens candidates that are presented in the associated Gaia Collaboration paper. The 4.8 million sources with their scores to be a lens are available at CDS.
    • A table of individual epoch observations linked to their corresponding source (component), with their celestial coordinates and onboard magnitudes.
    • A table of individual epoch observations classified as outliers and rejected by our clustering analysis, with their celestial coordinates and onboard magnitudes.
  5. Updated astrometry for Solar System objects.
    The publication consists mainly of:
    • Updated epoch astrometry of the Solar System objects from Gaia's Data Release 3.
    • Orbits of the Solar System Objects from Gaia's Data Release 3 computed with 66 months of data instead of 34 months.
Most of these data can be queried from GaiaPortal using the "Gaia Only Query" tab.
Diffuse Interstellar Bands data and Lens Catalogue Names can be downloaded as a single file through the "Gaia DR3 --> DataModel and Statistics" tab.
Since Solar System Objects data are not included in our GaiaPortal, updated astrometry for Solar System objects can be accessed through the Gaia ESA Archive.

Further information:
For further information about Gaia FPR please refer to this page.
Gaia FPR related papers are available here.

Jun 06, 2023

NASA-ASI IXPE space mission extended for 20 months

The NASA Program Scientist and NASA Astrophysics Director have signed the extension memo and funding for the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) satellite mission, a NASA+ASI, US and Italian, bilateral Small Explorer (SMEX) mission.
The IXPE space mission will be extended by 20 months by NASA, with a General Observer program from 2024 February through 2025 September. IXPE will be evaluated at the next NASA Senior Review of Operating Missions, for extension beyond that date.
NASA will release the Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for the IXPE Guest Observer (GO) program in the next weeks.

This goal has been obtained thanks to the IXPE international collaboration that has made, the IXPE mission, a successful satellite, both technically and scientifically.
IXPE has explored, up to now, the polarization state of the X-ray photons (2-8 keV energy band) emitted by several classes of compact astronomical objects with extreme gravitational, electric and magnetic fields.

Italy is collaborating on the scientific mission goals with a team of scientists of ASI, INAF, INFN and Roma Tre University. The Italian participation includes also the provision by ASI of the “Luigi Broglio” ground station (Malindi, Kenya) and of the Space Science Data Center (SSDC).

The SSDC has provided the instrument Calibration Database (CALDB) and has designed and developed, in collaboration with INAF and INFN, the scientific software modules (IXPE FTOOLs) that are part of the Instrument Pipeline, while is contributing in the scientific exploitation of the incoming data (in particular in the topic of active galactic nuclei and blazars and multifrequency follow-up) and in further developments of the analysis software.
The IXPE Team (INAF, INFN, ASI staff) of SSDC is composed by Matteo Perri, Simonetta Puccetti, Riccardo Middei, Marco Laurenti and Stefano Ciprini.

Some links:

Dec 13, 2022

New GaiaSpecTool available on GaiaPortal@SSDC

The new GaiaSPECtool tab is now online!
Easy-to-use GaiaPortal combined with powerful GaiaXPy spectra handling!
This new tool is based on the official Python package GaiaXPy, developed and maintained by members of the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC) and in particular, Coordination Unit 5 (CU5), and the Data Processing Centre located at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK (DPCI).

GaiaSPECtool can be used on a single Gaia DR3 source or, for registered users only, on a list of sources to:
  • convert Gaia DR3 mean spectra from a continuous representation to a sampled spectrum, optionally on a user-defined wavelength grid. Sampled spectra can be provided in two data formats:
    1. two separate files, one with the wavelength sampling array, the other containing in each line the sourceId, flux, and fluxerror arrays (in [W m-2 nm-1]);
    2. individual csv files (one for each source), containing 3 columns (wavelength, flux, fluxerror in [W m-2nm-1] or [erg cm-2 s-1 -1]).
    Plots of the spectra can also be requested.
  • Compute synthetic photometry in bands that are covered by the BP/RP wavelength range.
    Several sets of filters are included in the package.
  • The original Gaia DR3 continuous mean spectra are also provided in a single csv file, for use with a local installation of GaiaXPy, if needed.

GaiaSPECtool can be accessed here, through the GaiaPortal DR3 main tab.