Validation of standardized data formats and tools for ground-level particle-based gamma-ray observatories
Ground-based gamma-ray astronomy is still a rather young field of research, with strong historical connections to particle physics. This is why most observations are conducted by experiments with proprietary data and analysis software, as it is usual in the particle physics field. However in recent years, this paradigm has been slowly shifting towards the development and use of open-source data formats and tools, driven by upcoming observatories such as the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA). In this context, a community-driven, shared data format (the gamma-astro-data-format or GADF) and analysis tools such as Gammapy and ctools have been developed. So far these efforts have been led by the IACT community, leaving out other types of ground-based gamma-ray instruments.We aim to show that the data from ground particle arrays, such as the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) observatory, is also compatible with the GADF and can thus be fully analysed using the related tools, in this case Gammapy. We reproduce several published HAWC results using Gammapy and data products compliant with GADF standard. We also illustrate the capabilities of the shared format and tools by producing a joint fit of the Crab spectrum including data from six different gamma-ray experiments. We find excellent agreement with the reference results, a powerful check of both the published results and the tools involved. The data from particle detector arrays such as the HAWC observatory can be adapted to the GADF and thus analysed with Gammapy. A common data format and shared analysis tools allow multi-instrument joint analysis and effective data sharing. Given the complementary nature of pointing and wide-field instruments, this synergy will be distinctly beneficial for the joint scientific exploitation of future observatories such as the Southern Wide-field Gamma-ray Observatory and CTA.