Panter test 1996 at Munich

In the fall of 1996 a lot of people who are working on the XMM project went to Munich to do some testing of the instrument that we are trying to build. At the Panter facility (part of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestial Research) in Neuried (south part of Munich) there is a big vacuum tank connected to a 120 meter large tube. With this facility you can create nice X-ray beams that looks like a point source to the instrument. This is also the place where other famous satellites like ROSAT were tested.

Image of Munich The whole setup in controlled from this control room. Part of this room is filled with computer terminals to control to temperature, pressure and X-Ray source of the facility. The other half is filled with our computers that control the instrument that is being tested. On this picture you can see Stef (The Netherlands), Andy (USA) and Steve (England).

Image of Munich To give you an idea of the machinery that is needed to test out equipment, this picture shows you just the X-Ray generator and the monochromator. This device can pass on a small band in the X-Ray spectrum, the rest is filtered out. We use this device to see how our detector responds to specific energies in the X-Ray band.

Image of Munich Here you see a few people working inside the large vacuum tank (about 8 meters long). There are connecting all the wires to the instrument. You can see that the instrument is on a so called translation table. This is a platform that can move in all directions to position the instrument inside the tank. Since the tank will close during the experiment (it will be pumped vacuum) controlling this translation table is done remotely. On this picture are Ruud, John and Steve.

Image of Munich This is a picture taken from inside the tank. You can see our instrument on the left. The blue sheet is a cover to keep every dust particle outside the instrument. That is also the reason why we are dressed up so funny. We are working in an almost dust-free area. On the right you can see the old ROSAT PSPC (Proportional Counter) that we use for calibrating the amount of X-Ray flux. Steve looks very happy here - this was before we noticed that there was a defect in one of the wires. Shouldn't you be doing something usefull?

Image of Munich This is the grating box. It is made from Berilium Oxide and it acts like a prism, but then for X-Rays. Only 40 out of the 202 elements are in the box. This was enough for us to do the testing.

Image of Munich This is the mirror structure. You can not use normal mirrors like with visible light, because photons with small wavelengths don't curve when going through glass. The only way you can change the path of these photons is by scattering them on a piece of high reflective metal under a very small angle. To get a well defined focus photons are scattered twice (on a paraboloid and a hyperboloid). The surface is coated with gold for high reflectivity.

Image of Munich This is the first plot that tells us that we are within the specs of the instrument. It shows the spectral resolution of the spectrometer. Since we realized that this was the moment that we all waited for we all signed it and faxed it to all participating institutes.

Image of Munich The second plot shows another great moment. The respons of the instrument to scattering photons on the mirror is compared to the ray-traced simulation code written by Frits Paerels. After months of being unsure if he had done the right thing, this plot shows that he was right. What a relief!

Image of Munich And now, the moment that we've all been waiting for. The proof that I was there myself. What a horrible looking dude. Mommy, help!!!! There is a strange looking man with funny clothes on the screen.

This document was last updated on 24/01/97