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Suzaku Guest Observer Facility

Report of the Suzaku Users' Group, 2007 June 22

Report of the Suzaku Users' Group
22 June 2007

The Suzaku Users' Group (SUG) met 3 May 2007 at GSFC. Members of the Suzaku GOF and the instrument teams presented overviews of the mission. The SUG then met in Executive Session, followed by discussion of possible recommendations with the Suzaku team.

Attendees: Mark Bautz (ex-officio, XIS), Kazik Borkowski, Nancy Brickhouse (chair), Kai-Wing Chan (ex-officio, XRT), David Henley, Jack Hughes (SWG), Rich Kelley (ex-officio, XRS), Martin Laming, Greg Madejski (ex-officio, HXD)

We welcome David Henley as a new member and thank Mike Wise for his service before taking his current position in Europe. We note that Rich Kelley and Kai-Wing Chan did not attend the Executive Session.

I. Presentations.

Suzaku Mission Status, Tadayuki Takahashi (Deputy Project Manager, ISAS/JAXA)
Status of the Suzaku HXD, Tadayuki Takahashi (HXD team)
Update on Science with Suzaku HXD, Greg Madejski (HXD team)
Suzaku XRT Update, Kai-Wing Chan (XRT team)
XIS Update, Mark Bautz (XIS team)
XIS Calibration Status, Tadayasu Dotani (XIS team)
Suzaku Processing and Archive, Lorella Angelini (HEASARC)
User Guides Status, Ilana Harrus (GOF)
Suzaku in the (US) News, Ilana Harrus (GOF)
Suzaku Education and Public Outreach, Jim Lochner (HEASARC)
GO Program: Past, Present and Future, Koji Mukai (GOF)

These presentations are available here.

II. General Comments.

The SUG would like to thank the presenters for their time. We would also like to thank Koji Mukai for his efforts in organizing the meeting.

Suzaku is now functioning well and producing scientific results. More than 30 papers have been published in refereed journals, including the special issue of the PASJ. The Suzaku "Extreme Universe" Conference in Kyoto in Dec 2006 attracted 386 attendees.

Greg Madejski presented some SWG science highlights using the HXD, emphasizing that the HXD provides sensitive measurements of time-resolved broad-band spectroscopy of bright sources (above 300 keV), the hard X-ray continuum for faint sources, and the Wideband All-sky Monitor observations of gamma ray bursts. For example, results for Seyfert-type AGN include that there is no universal cut-off of the continuum at 200 keV and that the Compton reflection component of the spectrum does not vary in concert with the continuum in Seyferts.

The Guest Observer program now commands 100% of the observing time, as the Guaranteed Time program completed most of its observations in March 2007.

The XIS2 is essentially lost, possibly due to a micrometeor impact. Also the XIS contamination has stabilized to a relatively low growth rate and the calibration models should be accurate for AO2 (except possibly XIS0). Spaced-row charge injection (SCI) restores the spectral resolution, and will be taken into account in the calibration version 2.0 scheduled for June 2007.

Pipeline processing and data archiving appear to be in good shape for this stage in the mission. We are impressed with the coordination between the Japanese and American teams.

Education and public outreach efforts are notable.

The Senior Review call is expected in November 2007, with proposals due around March 2008. The SUG will support this effort.

III. Specific Recommendations.

1. Given that the XIS contamination growth has stabilized, that charge injection successfully restores the spectral resolution, and that tests on the ground have not produced conclusive results yet, we agree with the team's decision not to bake-out at this time. We note that baking out only one CCD is not an option.

2. We encourage the team to make sure that Version 2.0 s/w will incorporate the full sawtooth-dependent SCI. Efforts to improve analysis of the XIS data when the charge injection is on should continue.

3. The HXD background is not generated in the pipeline. The Suzaku team should continue to address the background issue, including the preparation of reliable files for background subtraction. This is especially important for faint sources.

4. One peer review chair noted that there were no female members on his panel. We encourage the GOF to expand the pool of possible peer reviewers in order to achieve a good gender balance.

5. We are concerned about delays in GO grant distribution caused by NASA's NSSC system. There appeared to be excessive micromanagement of these grants.

6. It would be helpful for the GOF to issue some guidance on submitting Stage 2 budget proposals through NSPIRES.

7. We believe it is important to emphasize the unique science that can be done with the HXD (and with the HXD in conjunction with the other detectors).

8. We encourage the GOF to explore the idea of Large Projects, which can increase participation and excitement. During Cycle 2, panels which accepted proposals longer than 250 ks had priority over time reserved from the total pool; however, the peer review process did not produce any Large Projects. Possibilities discussed to further encourage Large Project include (a) asking for white papers, as the CXC recently did for the Extremely Large Projects; (b) forcing large projects through fenced off time; (c) waiving proprietary time and (d) increasing the GO funding levels for Large Projects.

We suggest that 0.5 to 2.0 Msec be set aside for a Large Project, without mandating what the science should be, and fund this at a higher than normal rate. This might be more like a late-phase mission project than what one would normally do so early in the mission. The idea here is to generate excitement. We encourage GSFC to begin discussions now with the Japanese about the possibility of changing the peer review process.

9. It is approaching time for some of the members of the Users Group to rotate off, (though some should stay for continuity). We encourage the addition of members with experience in the HXD science.

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This file was last modified on Tuesday, 10-Jul-2007 13:13:51 EDT

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