Chandra X-Ray Observatory
Skip to the navigation links
Last modified: 6 September 2018


CIAO "Watch Out" Page

This page lists noteworthy items and issues about the CIAO release. For the full list of known issues please review the:

SAOImage DS9

Help, I am unable to create regions in ds9!
Mouse Mode

The ds9 7.3.2 release notes include the following:

The default mouse mode is now NONE and not REGION or POINTER. This prevents unwanted region creation when bringing the DS9 window to the front in most Window managers.

By default, ds9 will no longer create regions when it starts; that is, clicking in the ds9 window will not create a region. This is because the ds9 interface has changed in version 7.3.2, as noted above, so that it no longer starts in region editing mode.

To create or edit regions, users must now manually switch to Region mode by selecting

Edit → Region

from the menu bar or the button bar.

Users can make this the default by editing their preferences:

Edit → Preferences ...
Menus and Buttons                  (left panel)
Edit → Menu → Region               (right panel)
Preserve During Load preferences

CIAO users should not enable any of the following options

Menus and Buttons → File → Menu → Preserve During Load → Pan
Menus and Buttons → File → Menu → Preserve During Load → Region

preferences. Due to the way CIAO starts ds9, having these preferences enabled leads to a half-pixel shift in regions. This shift accumulates if the region file is saved and re-loaded.

Installing & Starting CIAO

chips issue on macOS High Sierra and Sierra

An update to the macos Sierra operating system has caused a problem with chips. The chips-smoke003 test now fails with messages that look like:

error: xp_import_surface returned: 2
xp_destroy_surface: assertion failed: s != NULL
xp_destroy_surface error: 3
xp_import_surface: assertion failed: s == NULL

The problem has been isolated to actions involving deleting a window: using the clear() command, delete_window() command, or clicking on the close button on the title bar. Those actions will succeed however, it will result in the background chips server crashing on any command which subsequently creates a new window.

As a work around, users can repeat the same command. Repeating the same command will recognize that the chips server is gone and will restart it automatically.

Parameter file conflicts with HEAsoft

Both CIAO and FTOOLS use parameter files to store parameter values for tools, and provide tools for manipulating these files (e.g. plist, pset, punlearn; they have the same name in both systems). The location of the parameter files is taken from the $PFILES environment variables for CIAO and FTOOLS (or $UPARM if $PFILES does not exist).

Common errors are:

  • pget: could not get parameter "foo"
  • The following parameter:
    has the following error(s):
      o Mode field "l" is invalid.
  • The following parameter:
    has the following error(s):
    o Problem converting minimum field "INDEF" to parameter type "i".
    o Problem converting maximum field "INDEF" to parameter type "i".

We recommend that you start FTOOLS before CIAO to minimize conflicts; more information on this problem is available in the CIAO and FTOOLS section of the Starting CIAO thread. Also refer to the related FAQ "The tool is failing because ")sval" has somehow shown up in the parameter value.".

Conflicts with Other Software Packages

There are some known conflicts between CIAO and other software or system libraries and tools. Issues not covered in this "Watch Out" page are listed on the "Other Software Packages" bug page.


Incorrect GTIs when time-filtering grating data with dmcopy opt=all

When a time filter is applied to a level=1.5 (evt1a.fits) or level=2 (evt2.fits) grating file and the dmcopy opt=all option is used, the GTI block in the output file is not updated to reflect the correct time range. Time-related header keyword values - such as ontime, livetime, and exposure - will be incorrect because they are calculated from the time ranges in the GTI block.

This bug affects all ACIS and HRC grating data analysis. Read the bug report for details and a workaround.

pbkfile parameter deprecated

In CIAO 4.6 the pbkfile parameter became obsolete in the following tools:

and were removed entirely from the following high level scripts

This change has been made possible by the additon of a set of new keywords to the Chandra data products during the last bulk reprocessing of most of the data in the Chandra archive (internally known as Repro-4). Only the data from the first few months of the mission were omitted.

Users retrieving data directly from the archive and using the high level scripts to generate responses will not need to make any changes. Users whose workflow calls the individual tools mentioned above, need to be sure that the obsfile (for mkarf, mkgarf, mkinstmap) or infile (for mkwarf, eff2evt, mean_energy_map) input is an event file or a file derived from the event file. The aspect solution and aspect histograms do not contain the needed metadata.

However, users with old version of data products, created with software version earlier than ASCDSVER = 8.4.2, will need to update their files in order to use this version of CIAO.

There are 3 options available:

  • Retrieve the lastest version of the data products from the Chandra archive. There are many cumulative changes that have been made to the processing system including new aspect "drift" calibrations and timing corrections that are only available in the latest processed version. Users can use download_chandra_obsid to retrieve the latest version.

  • Apply the lastest calibrations with the current version of chandra_repro which will automatically add the new keywords.

  • Finally, if it is undesireable to update calibrations or data products, user can simply update the existing meta-data in their old data files using the r4_header_update script.

For reference, the keywords that were added are: OCLKPAIR, ORC_MODE ,SUM_2X2, and FEP_CCD. The first 3 are simply copied from the ACIS parameter block file associated with the observation; the last is a string-encoded value mapping CCDs to the different sets of electronics.

Specifying Aspect Solution Files

The aspect solution files (pcad..._asol1.fits) are used as inputs to several of the CIAO tools - e.g. acis_process_events, asphist, and tg_resolve_events.

When there is a single aspect solution file, it can be provided directly to the tool:

unix% pset asphist infile=pcadf245733620N002_asol1.fits

In rare cases, there will be more than one aspect solution file for an observation. Then all the files must be provided in chronological order. (The time is in the filename, so "ls" lists them in chronological order.) This may be done as a comma-separated list:

unix% pset asphist infile="pcadf063874624N002_asol1.fits,pcadf063875522N002_asol1.fits,pcadf063902942N002_asol1.fits"

The list of aspect solution files may also be given as a stack. Any number of files, including just one, can be specified in the stack:

unix% cat pcad_asol1.lis

unix% pset asphist infile=@pcad_asol1.lis

or more than one:

unix% cat pcad_asol1.lis

unix% pset asphist infile=@pcad_asol1.lis

Note that an at symbol ("@") is used before the filename to indicate that it is a stack file.

Last modified: 6 September 2018
Smithsonian Institute Smithsonian Institute

The Chandra X-Ray Center (CXC) is operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA.   Email: Smithsonian Institution, Copyright © 1998-2017. All rights reserved.