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M.J.L. Turner (University of Leicester), P. Ferrando (CEA Saclay), C. Reppin (MPE Garching), A.D.T. Short (University of Leicester), G.E. Villa (IFC Milan), EPIC Collaboration
The EPIC instrument on XMM-Newton has completed calibration and is now in use for routine observations. The combined response of the EPIC MOS and PN cameras gives images over a FOV of 30’ diameter with 15" HEW resolution, and spectra over a band 0.2-12 keV with resolution of 140 eV @ 6 keV. The quantum efficiency over this band is close to pre-launch predictions, and is now calibrated to better that 5 the whole energy range. The background is dominated by the diffuse X-ray background at low energies and about 50 higher than pre launch estimations at high energies-this is consistent with the Chandra background, and relates to the present active state of the Sun. The steady on-orbit degradation of the CCDs, measured over 7 months predicts a factor 1.5 degradation in resolution in 8 years-cooling to –120 degrees can recover this loss. The recent large solar flare was equivalent to four months steady degradation. Images and spectra of galactic and extra galactic sources, taken during the calibration and PV programme are presented and the scientific potential of EPIC on XMM-Newton is assessed.
The authors are grateful to the ESA ground segment team for spacecraft operation, and to the funding agnecies of the UK, France,Germany and Italy for financial support