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SIXTE - a generic X-ray mission simulator

Presentation #103.71 in the session Missions and Instruments.

Published onJul 01, 2023
SIXTE - a generic X-ray mission simulator

Performance studies for X-ray missions require predictions of what observations with these instruments will look like at very high fidelity. We provide an overview of SIXTE, a generic multi-mission X-ray astronomy simulator developed over the past decade. Select active and previous missions supported by SIXTE are, among others, XMM-Newton, SRG/eROSITA, Suzaku, and NuSTAR, as well future missions such as XRISM, Athena, AXIS, HEX-P, or ARCUS. SIXTE accounts for the imaging process, relevant detector physics (including nonlinearities such as pile-up), and a description of the sensor readout chain. Simulations can cover scales from single point sources to millions of sources on the whole sky, including variability, extended source emission, cosmic and particle background, and supporting observation strategies from staring to mosaicking and slew observations. SIXTE’s input is mission independent, so users can directly compare the performance of different facilities. The simulation output is compatible with standard analysis tools such as HEASOFT, CIAO, or the XMM-SAS. SIXTE runs on Linux and MacOSX and is installed on the JHU sciserver ( The GPL-licensed source code and documentation are available at

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