XMM-Newton Users' Group Meeting #5 May 2006 @ GSFC, Greenbelt, MD Agenda ------ 1. Introductory remarks 2. Status summary from US Project Scientist 3. GOF summary of support work accomplished 4. Statement from GOF scientists 5. Budget Review Attendance ---------- XMM-Newton Users' Group Committee: Richard Griffiths (Chair) Alex Brown You-Hua Chu Megan Donahue Michael Eracleous Paul Plucinsky XMM-Newton Mission Scientists: Richard Griffiths (chair) Richard Mushotzky XMM-Newton GOF: Steve Snowden Randall Smith Beth Brown Mike Arida Sandy Barnes Brendan Perry Alan Smale (NASA/HQ) Wilt Sanders(NASA/HQ) Lou Kaluzienski (NASA/HQ) Lynn Cominsky Presentations: NASA/HQ - Update - Alan Smale Mission Status - Richard Mushotzky GOF - Update - Steve Snowden SAS Update - Brendan Perry RGS/OM & Publications - Randall Smith EPIC - Steve Snowden U.S. Archive Mirror - Michael Arida Source/Observation Categorization Project - Beth BrownMeeting Minutes
Summary of US Users Group Meeting for XMM-Newton, held May 16 2006 ------------------------------------------------------------------ We commend the XMM US GOF on its continuing support, and in particular for its performance in the 2006 Senior Review. The main concerns of the committee at the Users' Group Meeting were as follows: 1. The budget review procedure of withholding actual costs of the projects was unacceptable RECOMMENDATION: The committee found it EXTREMELY difficult to provide useful input relating to many aspects of the proposed budgets because numerical financial information was not provided for many of the budget items, particularly manpower costs and overall budget costs. The panel feels that this is very counterproductive and diminished considerably our ability to provide informed advice. The panel was unhappy that we were requested to evaluate budgets, possibly with serious consequences for the funding of individual GOs, without being provided with the information necessary to allow informed judgments. THE PANEL RECOMMENDS THAT THE SYSTEM ADOPTED FOR THIS BUDGET REVIEW BE ABANDONED AND A SYSTEM SIMILAR TO PREVIOUS YEARS BE ADOPTED. 2. There were outstanding calibration and background (MOS AND PN) questions, including absolute flux calibrations. 3. We are concerned about access to calibration and data reduction procedures that are published but not public (e.g., RGS cool columns). Full Minutes: NASA XMM-Newton Users Committee Meeting 2006 May 16 -- at GSFC Present: Richard Griffiths (Chair), Alex Brown, You-Hua Chu, Megan Donahue, Michael Eracleous, Paul Plucinsky Attending: Richard Mushotzky, Steve Snowden, Randall Smith, Beth Brown, Mike Arida, Sandy Barnes, Brendan Perry (GSFC), Alan Smale, Wilt Sanders, Lou Kaluzienski (NASA/HQ), Lynn Cominsky Agenda/Presentations -Welcome -- Snowden -Status Report -- Mushotzky * There is a strong US component to the accepted AO5 program (69% of proposals in AO5 have a US Co-I or PI) * XMM-Newton has a strong publication record (1 paper/day) The Users Committee is pleased to see the continued high scientific output from XMM data and the continued high involvement of the US community. * Senior review status Mushotzky stated that the XMM presentation to the Senior review went well and he expects that the XMM US GOF will be funded at close to the levels of previous years, although the exact amount will not be known until HQ completes the Senior Review process. He expects that $5 million will be available for GO funds and the GOF will have about $1.84 million to support the GOF staff. The Users Committee is pleased at the allocation of funds between the GO program and the GOF support. * HERA new SAS client HERA is a new SW package which will allow users to log in remotely on a GSFC machine and run SAS, CIAO, and HEASOFT. The major advantage is that this package could save users the trouble of installing and maintaining the latest version of the SW and the calibration files. This would be a major advance for users at small institutions who must do their own system maintenance. The Users Committee was pleased to hear about this new development. Most of the Users Committee was unaware of this new SW until the presentation. * PROFIT software for spectroscopic interpretation * Instruments accurate cross calibration and generally stable * XMM Slew Survey currently 20% of sky, 50% by 2010, perhaps 80% by 2015 The Users Committee was interested to hear that the slew survey would cover approximately half of the sky by 2010 at a sensitivity approaching that of the ROSAT All-sky Survey in the 0.2-2.0 keV band and ~10X more sensitive than the HEAO-1 survey. -HQ View -- Smale Smale briefed the new organization of NASA HQ for science. Paul Hertz is now Chief Scientist reporting to Mary Cleave (Associate Administrator) and C. Hartman (Deputy AA). There is now an "Astrophysics Division" with Rick Howard as the acting Director. The Deputy Director for the Astrophysics Division is currently vacant but it is expected that Eric Smith will become the deputy. * Budget contraction The NASA budget is $17.932 million for FY07 and $18.686 million for FY08. The budget for the Science Mission Directorate received a 1.5% increase in FY07 compared to FY06 and is projected to grow at 1.0% in the following years. This represents a significant decrease from the runout of the FY06 budget and amounts to a reduction of $3.1 billion dollars over four years. The Users Committee was distressed (as is the entire Astronomical community) to hear this budget news. * XMM Senior Review consequences Smale reviewed the missions which were and were not affected by the steep reduction in the Science budget. He expects that funding for the U.S. XMM GO program will not be affected by this current round of cuts. The Users Committee was please to hear that the relatively small amount of money to support the U.S. XMM GO program would be spared in the latest round of cuts. -GOF Functions -- Snowden Major developments: XMM-EAS (background modeling), HERA (data processing) The Users Committee is satisfied with the organization of the GOF and the services provided by the GOF to the U.S. community but wondered what the 4 FTE programmers are working on. Snowden explained that the programmers test the new releases of SAS and work on installation issues. The programmers are also involved with the development of the XMM background tools and the HERA SW. The Users Committee expressed again their enthusiasm for the HERA SW and the XMM background SW and stated that Committee members should start using these SW packages and provide feedback to the developers. -SAS Current Status -- Perry SAS V6.5.0 released Fall 2005; next major release V7.0 in ~July 2006 -Publication Tracking -- Smith The Users Committee asked Smith to describe the algorithm for identifying an paper as an "XMM" paper. For example, there are many papers now which contain a joint analysis of XMM and Chandra data and does such a paper count as an XMM paper or a Chandra paper or as both XMM and Chandra. Smith explained that he retrieves all Abstracts from the ADS which are X-ray papers. He then examines the abstracts to determine if the paper is an XMM paper. He judges a paper as an XMM paper if it includes analysis of XMM data. Therefore, a paper which analyzes both XMM and Chandra data counts as both an XMM and Chandra paper. A paper which analyzes XMM data and quotes a Chandra result counts only as as an XMM paper and vice versa. The Users Committee is pleased to see the current publication rate of XMM papers of ~1 per day. -OM and RGS Status -- Smith OM: 3% photometric accuracy, 1 arcsec positional accuracy; SAS now handles grism data The Users Committee is pleased to see that the XMM OM data are now included in the MAST archive and should be more accessible to the community. RGS Issues: * long wavelength efficiency/contamination * absolute efficiency vs EPIC * cool columns The Users Committee is concerned that the RGS team has been unable to develop a physical model which explains the loss of efficiency at all wavelengths but understands the need to release an empirical correction which will address most of the problems. The Users Committee is concerned about the impact of the cool columns in the RGS instrument which is generating a dispute in the literature on the interpretation of some RGS observations of the WHIM. The Users Committee is encouraged that the RGS team correction for the cool columns should be included in SAS 7.0, making the correction available to the GOs. -EPIC Status -- Snowden The Users Committee is pleased to hear about the stability of the PN and MOS1/2 instrument responses, with the PN being remarkably stable. The agreement between PN and MOS1/2 in the middle of the bandpass is quite good, although significant discrepancies below 1.0 keV and above 6.0 keV still require more calibration work. Snowden described in more detail the background modeling SW and showed examples of background- subtracted and exposure-corrected images and spectra. The Users Committee agreed that this SW should be a significant benefit for the study of extended objects with XMM. -EPO Program -- Cominsky * Educator Ambassadors * Teacher training * Supernova Educator Guide * Dying Stars and the Birth of the Elements CLEA Laboratory * X-ray sky planetarium show The Users Committee was impressed with the progress which Cominsky has made on the XMM EPO program and appreciated receiving samples of the EPO materials. -Source Classification -- Brown The Users Committee was intrigued by the glimpse of the results from the second XMM source catalog and looks forward to seeing more detail in future meetings and publications. The Users Committee agrees that the categorization of sources by type would be a benefit to the community. -Archive Status -- Arida The Users Committee is satisfied with the status of the XMM archive at GSFC. -GOF and GO Funding -- Snowden The Users Committee was pleased to see that $6.3 million is expected to be available for GO funds in AO-5. The Users Committee appreciated the description and formula for the "Fair Share Estimate" provided by Snowden which had been used in previous years budget reviews. -Budget Review -- Users Committee The committee spent the afternoon of the meeting providing input and recommendations to NASA HQ personnel concerning proposed US AO5 GO budgets. As a result of this experience the committee made the following recommendations: RECOMMENDATION: The committee found it EXTREMELY difficult to provide useful input relating to many aspects of the proposed budgets because numerical financial information was not provided for many of the budget items, particularly manpower costs and overall budget costs. The panel feels that this is very counterproductive and diminished considerably our ability to provide informed advice. The panel was unhappy that we were requested to evaluate budgets, possibly with serious consequences for the funding of individual GOs, without being provided with the information necessary to allow informed judgments. THE PANEL RECOMMENDS THAT THE SYSTEM ADOPTED FOR THIS BUDGET REVIEW BE ABANDONED AND A SYSTEM SIMILAR TO PREVIOUS YEARS BE ADOPTED.Return to the U.S. XMM-Newton Users Group page.
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