BASIC INSTRUCTIONS

Utilizing ARK, the Astrophysics Research Knowledgebase, a service of NASA's High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center, RPS provides a facility for filling out the RXTE Observation Request forms. Electronic submission of the forms is required. The scientific justification must also be submitted electronically, uploaded as a PDF file after the initial submission of the electronic proposal forms. Please note that this PDF cannot exceed one page in length or 10MB in size.

In order to access the RXTE RPS web form, you must first create an ARK account and/or join the XTE group.

If you already have an ARK account, login first and select "Join Group" from the menu next to "RXTE RPS (XTE)" and then click on the Submit Changes button.

If you do not already have an ARK account, enter your e-mail address in the input field provided and click on the checkbox next to "RXTE RPS (XTE)" and then click on the Join ARK button. Check your e-mail and click on the activation code found therein. Fill out the ARK registration form and submit.

Next, proceed to the RXTE RPS web form and fill out the form as directed below. Targets can be added at the end of the form or by clicking the Add Targets button at the top or bottom of the page. The Add Targets button can be used to add blank targets or to upload a plain text file containing a list of target names and/or positions. Please note that this latter method will only fill in the fields for the target name and pointing position; you will still need to enter other information (observation time, instrument parameters, constraints, etc.) for each target using the web interface. Alternatively, after adding some targets, you can use the Save button to download a plain text representation of the ARK form, which you can edit in your favorite text editor and then Reload into ARK. Note that the file format used by the Reload mechanism is the same as the format of the files generated by the Save button.

After you have filled out the form, click the Verify button to make sure you have entered the form information correctly. If the form does not validate, ARK/RPS will identify the reason(s) for non-verification. Once the form verifies successfully, a Submit button will appear, allowing you to you to submit the proposal to RPS.

The PostScript, PDF, and LaTeX buttons can be used to generate formatted versions of the proposal forms. We recommend that PIs keep formatted copies of the forms for their personal records, but it is not a required part of the proposal submission process.

After clicking on the Submit button, go to your Recent Activity page. Summary information for the proposal that you just submitted should be listed here, indicating that you have successfully submitted your RXTE proposal forms to ARK/RPS. You may now upload your scientific justification (in PDF format). From the Recent Activity page, click on the Files button next to the proposal you submitted, and then click on the Upload button and follow the instructions on that page. After you have successfully uploaded your scientific justification, you have completed your RPS electronic submission.

Note: After submission and before the proposal deadline, you may still Modify or Discard your proposal using the appropriate buttons on the Recent Activity page. The Files button also enables you to Download, Discard, or Replace any file that you previously uploaded.

Additional information on how to use RPS and the answers to some frequently asked questions can be found on the RPS Quick Help page.

Short descriptions of the forms and fields are below. The fields are listed in the same order as found on the web page. The labels for the fields in the web form will link to the appropriate field description below.

FORM/FIELD-SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS

Cover Page

The section contains fields for the proposal title, abstract, the type of proposal, and information about the Principal Investigator (name, institution, address, telephone number, etc.).

Subject Category

The type of object(s) to be studied in the proposal. Required. Specify one of the following categories:
     STARS
     CATACLYSMIC VARIABLES
     PULSARS
     LMXB
     HMXB
     BLACK HOLE CANDIDATES
     SUPERNOVA REMNANTS AND GALACTIC DIFFUSE EMISSION
     NORMAL GALAXIES
     AGN
     CLUSTERS OF GALAXIES AND SUPERCLUSTERS
     OTHER

Proposal Title

The title of the proposal (up to 120 characters). Required.

Abstract

800 characters maximum. Abstracts exceeding this limit must be shortened. Required.

Principal Investigator Title

Your title (Dr., Ms., Mr., Prof.). The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

First Name

Your first name. Up to 17 characters are allowed. Required. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

Middle Name or Initial

If you like, you may add your middle name or initial(s). Optional. Up to 12 characters are allowed. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

Last Name

Your last name (surname). Up to 27 characters are allowed. Required. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

Department

The name of your department at your institution. Up to 60 characters are allowed. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

Institute

Your institutional affiliation. Required. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

Street Address

The first line of your institution's address, e.g., the street name, any number within it, etc. Up to 60 characters. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

City/Town

Your city or town. Up to 32 characters. Required. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

State/Province

The name of the state/province/prefecture in which your institution is located. Up to 30 characters. Required. For states in the U.S., please use USPS-standard, two-letter abbreviations. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

Zip/Postal Code

The postal code, ZIP code, or equivalent of your institution. Up to 10 characters. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

Country

The name of the country in which your institution is located. Required. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission. If your country is not listed, please contact the RPS Help Desk.

Telephone Number

Your telephone number, plus any extension. Please include the international prefix if appropriate. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

Fax Number

Your fax number, if available. 24 characters allowed. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

E-mail Address

Your e-mail address. Up to 60 characters. Required. An e-mail receipt will be sent to this address within 24 hours of the electronic submission of your proposal, if the e-mail receipt option is checked in your ARK user profile. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.


General Form

This form contains details of your collaborators, if any, and additional contact information. Up to 10 Co-Investigators are allowed.

Co-Investigator First Name

The first name of each Co-Investigator. Up to 20 characters.

Co-Investigator Last Name

The last name of each Co-Investigator. Up to 20 characters.

Co-Investigator Institute

The institution for each Co-Investigator. Up to 60 characters. Please refer to the List of Institutions Recognized by RPS and use the official name of the institution wherever possible. Note: If your Co-I's institution is not among those listed, please contact the RPS Help Desk and request that it be added to the list. Such requests are typically answered within 24 hours, excluding weekends and U.S. Federal holidays.

Co-Investigator Country

The country for each Co-Investigator. If a country is not listed, please contact us at the RPS Help Desk and request that it be added to the list.

Co-Investigator E-mail Address

The e-mail address for each Co-Investigator. Up to 60 characters.

Contact First Co-Investigator?

Flag indicating whether or not the first Co-Investigator listed is also a contact person in cases where the Principal Investigator cannot be reached. The default is no.

Telephone Number of First Co-Investigator

Telephone number of the Co-Investigator that should be contacted. 20 characters.

Estimated NASA FTEs

If there are NASA civil servants among the team (either PI or Co-I), enter the estimated total full-time-equivalent effort (in units of years) that the NASA employees are expected spend on this project. Required.


Target Form(s)

The details that need to be filled in for each different target. If proposing both high and low telemetry modes for a source (depending on its state), please fill out a separate target form for each set of configurations. For monitoring campaigns that have several types of spacing (i.e. 'daily for 2 weeks, then monthly for the AO'), or have uneven time distribution, please fill out a separate target form for each different type. For monitoring campaigns with logarithmic sampling, one form will suffice (as this is a special handling request).

Target Name

The commonly accepted name for the object. Up to 20 characters. Required. Please use standard names for known targets (e.g., NGC 2237 or Eta Car).

R.A.

The J2000 right ascension of the source. The value can be entered in either sexagesimal format (HH MM SS.SS — hours, minutes, seconds, separated by spaces) or decimal degrees format (DDD.DDDDDD). If you enter the value in sexagesimal format, it will be converted to decimal degrees format when you submit. Required.

Dec.

The J2000 declination of the source. The value can be entered in either sexagesimal format (±DD MM SS.S — an optional sign, either + or -, followed by the degrees, minutes, and seconds, separated by spaces) or decimal degrees format (±DD.DDDDD). If you enter the value in sexagesimal format, it will be converted to decimal degrees format when you submit. If you do not specify the sign, it is assumed to be positive. Required.

Total Observation Time

The preferred duration in kiloseconds of the observation. This is the total observation time, so for monitoring observations, this is the sum of all pointings. For example, for two observations of 40 ksec each, specify 80 ksec as the Total Observation Time and 2 for the Number of Observations. The minimum Total Observation Time for one target is 1 ksec. Required.

Scanning Observation?

Indicates that this is a scanning observation. Details of the observations should be entered into the Remarks fields.

Number of Observations

Number of observations of the target. This should be 1 unless constraints are specified. For monitoring observations this will give the number of parts into which the total exposure will be evenly divided. Monitoring that requires uneven splitting (such as an initial long stare, followed by monthly short pointings) should be indicated in the Remarks field.

Number of Constraints

Number of constraints specified for a particular target.

Estimated PCA Minimum Counting Rate

Source count rate in counts/sec typical of the faint state of the source; optional; ignore if the source is steady.

Estimated PCA Maximum Counting Rate

Source count rate in counts/sec typical of the bright state of the source. Required. For steady sources, it is sufficient to use the sum of the mean count rates for each of the six PCA bands.

PCA Band 1 Mean Count Rate

Source count rate in counts/sec for band 1. The bands are defined in the output of PIMMS.

PCA Band 2 Mean Count Rate

Source count rate in counts/sec for band 2. The bands are defined in the output of PIMMS.

PCA Band 3 Mean Count Rate

Source count rate in counts/sec for band 3. The bands are defined in the output of PIMMS.

PCA Band 4 Mean Count Rate

Source count rate in counts/sec for band 4. The bands are defined in the output of PIMMS.

PCA Band 5 Mean Count Rate

Source count rate in counts/sec for band 5. The bands are defined in the output of PIMMS.

PCA Band 6 Mean Count Rate

Source count rate in counts/sec for band 6. The bands are defined in the output of PIMMS.

HEXTE Band 1 Mean Count Rate

Source count rate in counts/sec for band 1. The bands are defined in the output of PIMMS.

HEXTE Band 2 Mean Count Rate

Source count rate in counts/sec for band 2. The bands are defined in the output of PIMMS.

HEXTE Band 3 Mean Count Rate

Source count rate in counts/sec for band 3. The bands are defined in the output of PIMMS.

HEXTE Band 4 Mean Count Rate

Source count rate in counts/sec for band 4. The bands are defined in the output of PIMMS.

HEXTE Maximum Count Rate

Maximum source count rate in counts/sec. Required.

PCA/EDS Configurations

The particular configuration desired for the PCA data that will be processed by the EDS. The general format for, as an example, an event configuration is:
             X_NNuu_Ng_L_rr   example: E_2us_8A_0_8s
where X is the mode (B = binned, E = Event, SB = single bit, F = Fourier, etc.), NNuu = time resolution in microsec (us) or in millisec (ms), N = no. of channels and their grouping (g), L = low channel cutoff (most modes also have a high channel cutoff), rr = readout time (generally in seconds). Details for all configurations are available in Appendix F of the RXTE NRA. The software tool 'recommd' (Web interface or stand-alone code that you can download and compile from our anonymous FTP area) will provide guidance in specifying the PCA/EDS configuration. If you do not wish a configuration for a particular EA, then specify IDLE. No more than three IDLE configurations are allowed. Do not use NULL for a configuration. A listing of valid PCA/EDS configurations is also available.

Note: For all sources with total PCA count rates less than 1200 ct/s (including all extragalactic observations) and HEXTE count rates less than 80 ct/s, the SOC strongly recommends that proposers choose the following set of instrument configurations:

PCA EA3: GoodXenon1_2s
PCA EA4: GoodXenon2_2s
PCA EA5: Idle
PCA EA6: Idle

HEXTE Cluster A: E_8us_256_DX1f
HEXTE Cluster B: E_8us_256_DX1f

HEXTE Cluster A Mode

The particular configuration desired for the HEXTE data processing. The configuration string will resemble the PCA configuration string (as described above). Chapter 10 of Appendix F lists the available configurations. The software code 'HEXTEmporize' will provide some guidance in choosing an appropriate configuration based upon count rates in 4 spectral bands. 'HEXTEmporize', a small stand-alone program, is available from the HEASARC anonymous FTP account. Note that IDLE is no longer a valid HEXTE Cluster Mode.

HEXTE Cluster A Low Energy Bound

Low energy boundary in keV below which source counts will be ignored. Used to reduce the telemetry rate when softer photons are undesirable. Range: 10-30 keV in 1 keV steps. The default value for this field is DEFAULT. When DEFAULT is chosen by the proposer, the operations team will use the Instrument Team-specified default. These values are subject to change at the discretion of the HEXTE team. All proposers requesting "DEFAULT" will have the HEXTE team default values in effect at the time of their observation.

HEXTE Cluster A Source Dwell Time

This is the on-source exposure time. Since HEXTE no longer performs on-off "rocking" modulation, the only choice available now is DEFAULT. More information about the subject is available.

HEXTE Cluster A Switching Angle

The beam switching angle for the cluster. Since HEXTE no longer performs on-off "rocking" modulation, the only choice available now is DEFAULT. HEXTE cluster A now permanently stares at the on-source position (while cluster B stares off-source). Observers should be able to use the 'hextebackest' FTOOL to estimate the background of cluster A, based on the data from cluster B. More information about the subject is available.

HEXTE Cluster A Burst List

Range of options for the burst trigger setting. Choices are NO, EDS, OTHER, or INTERNAL. The default value for this field is NO.

HEXTE Cluster B Mode

The particular configuration desired for the HEXTE data processing. The configuration string will resemble the PCA configuration string (as described above). Chapter 10 of Appendix F lists the available configurations. The software code 'HEXTEmporize' will provide some guidance in choosing an appropriate configuration based upon count rates in 4 spectral bands. 'HEXTEmporize', a small stand-alone program, is available from the HEASARC anonymous FTP account. Note that IDLE is no longer a valid HEXTE Cluster Mode.

HEXTE Cluster B Low Energy Bound

Low energy boundary in keV below which source counts will be ignored. Used to reduce the telemetry rate when softer photons are undesirable. Range: 10-30 keV in 1 keV steps. The default value for this field is DEFAULT. (See description above.)

HEXTE Cluster B Source Dwell Time

This is the on-source exposure time. Since HEXTE no longer performs on-off "rocking" modulation, the only choice available now is DEFAULT. More information about the subject is available.

HEXTE Cluster B Switching Angle

The beam switching angle for the cluster. Since HEXTE no longer performs on-off "rocking" modulation, the only choice available now is DEFAULT. HEXTE cluster B now permanently stares at the off-source position (while cluster A stares on-source). Observers should be able to use the 'hextebackest' FTOOL to estimate the background of cluster A, based on the data from cluster B. More information about the subject is available.

HEXTE Cluster B Burst List

Range of options for the burst trigger setting. Choices are NO, EDS, OTHER, or INTERNAL. The default value for this field is NO.

Remarks

Any relevant comments you wish to make regarding the target and the observation mode. Up to 400 characters.

Observation Constraints

This section contains the details for any time-critical observation. The following types of constraint are possible:
	Coordinated:		In a fixed time-window
	Time of Day:		At a fixed time of day
	Monitoring: 		Samples at a given interval
	Phase dependent:	Samples at a given phase
        Contiguous:             Not split into many slots
	Target of Opportunity:  TOO triggered by ASM Count Rate
	Other TOO:		TOO triggered by other observations

Co-ordinated Observation?

Indicates if the observation is linked with other simultaneous observations. If the exact co-ordinated times are known, choose Y. Choose U if the observation is to be co-ordinated, but the time is still unknown. If Y is chosen, the start and end times must be given in UT (year, month, day, hour, minute). See the AO document for the anticipated dates for the AO period. The default is no.

Co-ordinated Observation Special Handling?

Up to 4 coordinated observations per month, chosen by the peer review panel, will be accepted with the GO's request for special handling. For these observations, the SOC will accommodate changes in the requested time of the observation up to 60 days prior to the start of the coordinated observation. The proposer may elect to place the proposed observation in this category; the appropriateness of the "special handling" flag will be reviewed during the proposal selection process. The default is no.

Co-ordinated Observation Start Year

The year to start time-critical observations.

Co-ordinated Observation Start Month

The month to start time-critical observations.

Co-ordinated Observation Start Day

The day to start time-critical observations.

Co-ordinated Observation Start Hour

The hour to start time-critical observations.

Co-ordinated Observation Start Minute

The minute to start time-critical observations.

Co-ordinated Observation Stop Year

The year to end time-critical observations.

Co-ordinated Observation Stop Month

The month to end time-critical observations.

Co-ordinated Observation Stop Day

The day to end time-critical observations.

Co-ordinated Observation Stop Hour

The hour to end time-critical observations.

Co-ordinated Observation Stop Minute

The minute to end time-critical observations.

Time of Day Constraints?

Indicates that the observation is linked with other simultaneous observations, making the exact time of day of the observation important. The start and end times must be given in UT (hour, minute). The default is no.

Time of Day Start Hour

The hour to start for time-critical observations.

Time of Day Start Minute

The minute to start for time-critical observations.

Time of Day Stop Hour

The hour to stop for time-critical observations.

Time of Day Stop Minute

The minute to stop for time-critical observations.

Monitoring Observation

Indicates whether the observation is to be made in several parts at fixed intervals but with no fixed starting time. The number of parts is specified on the target form in the "Number of Observations" field. The default is no.

Minimum Interval Between Observations

The desired minimum time interval between monitoring observations, in kiloseconds.

Maximum Interval Between Observations

The desired maximum time interval between monitoring observations, in kiloseconds.

Phase Dependent Observation

Indicates that the observation is to be spread over a number of intervals with a fixed interval between them and a given reference date. The Epoch is the reference date given in MJD and the Period is the orbital period of the source in days. The Minimum (Start) and Maximum (End) Phase are the minimum and maximum orbital phase. The default is no.

Phase Dependent Epoch

For phase dependent observations, the reference date in Modified Julian Day (MJD) number format. The observations will be made at an integral number of Periods from this date.

Phase Dependent Period

The period for the ephemeris, in days.

Minimum (Start) Phase

Minimum or starting orbital phase to be observed. Values must be between 0 and 1.

Maximum (End) Phase

Maximum or ending orbital phase to be observed. Values must be between 0 and 1.

Second Phase Dependent Epoch

For phase dependent observations, the reference date (MJD) of the second phase.

Second Phase Dependent Period

The period for the ephemeris, in days.

Second Minimum (Start) Phase

Second phase at which an observation should begin. Values must be between 0 and 1.

Second Maximum (End) Phase

Second phase at which an observation should end. Values must be between 0 and 1.

Uninterrupted Observation

Used to indicate that the observation should be uninterrupted for the minimum time specified. The default is no.

Minimum Constant Pointing Direction Time

The minimum desired time, in kiloseconds, that RXTE must be locked on target, without slewing to another source, but still allowing interruptions for occultations, SAA passage, etc.

Minimum Continuous Viewing Zone Time

The minimum desired time, in kiloseconds, for a good time interval before the next orbital event (occultation or SAA).

Target of Opportunity Observation

Used to indicate that this object is a Target of Opportunity. The default is N (no).

Minimum ASM Count Rate to Trigger TOO

The All-Sky Monitor (ASM) count rate above which will trigger the observation.

Maximum ASM Count Rate to Trigger TOO

The All-Sky Monitor (ASM) count rate below which will trigger the observation.

TOO Triggered by Optical/Other Observation

Used to indicate that this is a TOO triggered by other observation(s). The default is no.