PhD course: analysis of X-ray & optical astro data – University of Copenhagen

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PhD course: analysis of X-ray & optical astro data

On 2013 October 3 and 4, Kim Page from the Swift Science Data Centre in Leicester (UK) will provide a 2-day intensive course on analysis of X-ray and optical astronomical data, as provided by the Swift satellite. The course is open to students and staff in astronomy and related sciences. We have applied for approval of 2.5 ECTS credits for students, conditional on completion of homework assignments. The course is part of, but not limited to, the IDA initiative of Danish access to Swift observing time.

The course will be in the form of hands-on sessions. Participants will work with the Swift software using their computers and will learn to produce scientific results out of raw data. A description of the instruments and data analysis will be provided, together with examples and exercises. The analysis will encompass both the X-ray and optical / ultraviolet data, coming from the XRT and UVOT instruments.

The Swift satellite is a versatile observatory which can provide X-ray (0.3-10 keV) and optical/UV (1900-5500 Å) observations. While its primary goal is the study of cosmic gamma-ray bursts, most of its observing time is now dedicated to study of a wide variety of celestial objects, including comets, stars, Galactic compact objects, black holes, supernovae, active galaxies, clusters, and all kinds of new, unexpected transients. All astronomers are welcome to request Swift time, and all data are released to the public just hours after acquisition. A set of tools, pipelines, and online catalogs allows easy data access to the entire community. Hardly any field of astronomy does not benefit from Swift output.


Thursday, 10.00 - 12.00 and 14:00 - 17.00

  1. Introduction to XRT data analysis
  2. Step-by-step work through of XRT analysis of GRB 130608A. This will cover the processing of the data, creating a light-curve from scratch, extracting spectra and fitting within XSPEC.

Friday, 09.30 - 12.00

  1. Introduction to UVOT data analysis.
  2. Step-by-step work through of UVOT analysis of GRB 130831A: creating light-curves (mainly image mode, but also event mode) and extracting spectral bins which can then be used in SEDs.

Useful links

For more general information, see and