MINUTES OF THE ASCA USER'S GROUP --- 1997 April 1
Dupont Plaza Hotel, Washington, D.C.
Prepared by: Alex Brown, Chair
Members Present: Alex Brown, David Burrows, Jules Halpern, Mark Henricksen, Christine Jones, Greg Madejski, Chris Mauche, Craig Sarazin, and Kim Weaver
Members Absent: Jack Hughes and Paul Plucinsky
Others: Ken Ebisawa, Keith Gendreau, Eric Gotthelf, Paul Hertz, Koji Mukai, Rob Petre, Nick White
Headquarters Situation - Paul Hertz
Paul reported on plans for ASCA AO6, which will operate as a two-stage
review with observing time awarded by an ASCA proposal review and
funding provided later via the Astrophysics Data Program.
The aim is to synchronize the various high energy mission proposal
deadlines, so that they can all the feed into the ADP funding
review. Currently an ADP dealine is scheduled for December 1997.
Later Note: Subsequently this deadline has shifted to May 1998
leaving a significant funding gap for many ASCA observers.
Paul explained that HQ policy is that future missions would not
include proprietary data rights, but that ASCA would continue under
the existing system. The general AUG opinion was that data rights
served an important purpose and allowed proposers time to bring to
the intellectual property contained in their observing proposals.
AO5 Proposal Review, Merging, and Funding - Rob Petre
Rob summarized the AO5 review process (see handouts). The merging
process was much cleaner than in previous years, with only one
100 ksec time-critical B target being lost.
There was little merging conflict and very few target overlaps.
In the future the Japanese would like Priority C observations
to be no longer than 40 ksec to allow easier scheduling.
Rob outlined the AO5 GO budget review process and the financial
problems of rapidly declining GO funding.
The proposals for AO6 will be due on 6 August 1997. The proposal
review will be 15-17 October. Funding will be from the Astrophysics
Recommendation passed by the AUG: The AUG recommends that
page charges be covered by the GOF for argued cases where no
ADP funding is available.
Mission Status and Other Matters - Nick White
Nick described proposed changes to the proposal merging process
that would give US GO improved access to USJ/JUS observing
time. The changes would be benficial to US proposers and
continue the fostering of US-Japanese collaboration.
Recommendation passed by the AUG: The AUG endorses the
new arrangement for merging USJ proposals.
Nick thanked the AUG for their help in preparing and presenting
the 1996 ASCA Senior Review proposal. ASCA was evaluated very
favorably and new funds provided for GO and GOF support.
The process for funding support via the ADP was discussed
further. Concerns were expressed about transmission of information
from the ASCA review to the ADP panels and the high energy
technical review input that would likely be available to ADP panels.
The AUG requested that a letter be sent to NASA HQ expressing
our concerns on this topic. Later Note: This letter was sent
by the Chair after input from AUG members.
Nick described the mission status.
Instrumental difficulties include two degraded gyros and a battery
with a minor problem. The GOF is moving to the Rev2 software and a
new release of FTOOLs is expected shortly. GOF staffing is expected
to be stable for the next few years with a gradual shift of personnel
to the Astro-E effort. The archive will be moved to a new jukebox.
Calibration - Keith Gendrau (see handout)
Discussion of the status of the individual detector systems was deferred
to the relevant Workshop sessions. Keith gave a presentation on the status
of the instrumental calibration, and inconsistencies seen between
the SIS and GIS detectors. The most significant calibration
uncertainties seem to relate to problems with the telescope optical
constants, rather than mirror contamination as suggested previously.
Difficulties still exist with the low energy calibration. The AUG
noted that calibration should be a major priority of the GOF.
Statement passed by the AUG: The AUG appreciates and encourages
the ongoing calibration effort of the GOF.
Much of the remainder of the meeting was spent discussing
the preparations for the Cherry Blossom Workshop that immediately
followed the AUG meeting. Topics for the Workshop Panel were
considered and the future direction of ASCA science was
The next AUG meeting is expected to be in the spring of 1998.
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Mon May 18 15:36:30 MDT 1998