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RXTE News Archive: 2011 RXTE
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RXTE Detects "Heartbeat" of Smallest Black Hole Candidate

December 21, 2011

Researchers using RXTE have found a black hole candidate with less than three times the mass of our sun. For further details, see this NASA release:


Interruption to RXTE Planned Observation Schedule

December 14, 2011

XTE temporarily stopped slewing at 06:31 UT on December 1, 2011 due to a spacecraft gyro anomaly. Normal science operations have resumed using a two gyro configuration since approximately 22:00 UT December 2, 2011.


RXTE Special Session at January 2012 AAS Meeting: Abstract Deadline

September 28, 2011

A special session entitled, "The Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer: Taking the Pulse of the Universe," will be held during the 219th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Austin, TX. The session will take place on Tuesday, 10 January 2012 at 2:00PM - 3:30PM. A contributed poster session is also planned to be scheduled on the same day. We encourage RXTE users to consider submitting abstracts for this poster session. The abstract deadline for the January 2012 Austin meeting is 9pm ET, Wednesday, October 5, 2011 (next week). Upon submitting an abstract, the RXTE special session can be requested when completing the Preplanned Sessions step of the submission process. The Regular Registration deadline for the Austin meeting is Thursday, November 17, 2011. Further information about the 219th AAS meeting can be found at the AAS website. We look forward to seeing many of you in Austin to celebrate RXTE.


Interruption to RXTE Planned Observation Schedule

September 14, 2011

RXTE temporarily stopped slewing at 19:23 UT on September 9 due to a spacecraft gyro anomaly. Normal science operations have resumed since 00 UT September 14, 2011.


RXTE Special Session at January 2012 AAS: Schedule and Details

August 4, 2011

A special session entitled, "The Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer: Taking the Pulse of the Universe," has now been scheduled during the 219th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Austin, TX. The session will take place on Tuesday, 10 January 2012 at 2:00PM - 3:30PM. We invite all RXTE users and friends to join us for this special occasion, as well as to contribute relevant scientific abstracts to an associated poster session. Further information about the 219th AAS meeting, including abstract and registration deadlines, can be found at the AAS website.


The Recent Problem With the RXTE Ground System Has Been Fixed

July 1, 2011

The recent problem with the RXTE ground system has been fixed, and RXTE resumed normal operations at about 01:00 UT July 1, 2011.


RXTE Operations Team Having Trouble Conducting the Usual Contacts with the Spacecraft

June 30, 2011

On June 30, 2011, RXTE operations team started having trouble conducting the usual contacts with the spacecraft. As a result, the amount of telemetry being sent to the ground has been greatly reduced and most of the science data will likely be lost. It appears that the problem is in the ground system and the spacecraft is operating normally. The RXTE operations team is working to solve this problem as quickly as possible.


RXTE Special Session at the January 2012 meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS)

June 22, 2011

The RXTE team is organizing a special session for the 219th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) to be held in Austin, TX from January 8-12, 2012. This will be an opportunity to highlight the many scientific contributions made possible with RXTE observations, celebrate the longevity and success of the mission, and review the important scientific questions still to be answered by future missions with an increase in X-ray timing capability. In a 90-minute session we will have five invited talks exploring the legacy of RXTE discoveries, examining research topics of current and ongoing interest, and highlighting the discovery space for future missions. We invite all RXTE users and friends to join us for this special occasion, as well as to contribute relevant scientific abstracts to an associated poster session. We will post additional details about the session as they are finalized. Further information about the 219th AAS meeting, including abstract and registration deadlines, can be found at the AAS website. We look forward to seeing many of you in Austin to celebrate RXTE.

Tod Strohmayer (for the RXTE team)


Updates to RXTE Software, including Improved Calibration Tool

June 14, 2011

HEASARC has released FTOOLS v6.11, which contains updates for the following RXTE tools:

    faxbary: Corrects bug with timezero not being added to tstart/tstop

    xpcaarf: (v3.9) Revision to geometric areas in parameter file.
For more information on the changes to xpcaarf, see the PCA Digest "What's New?" note for 2011-06-09: Improvements to the PCA Effective Area (HEASoft 6.11).

For more information about FTOOLS v6.11 and instructions on how to download the updated software, please see the HEASoft Download page.


Update on the Status and Future of RXTE

May 17, 2011

RXTE is currently carrying out Cycle 15 observations. NASA has recently approved funding to continue scientific operations with RXTE through approximately December 16, 2011. This will enable completion of most of the Cycle 15 program, and includes unique opportunities to observe occultations of the Crab Nebula by the Moon in the last few months of 2011. NASA has not approved new FY 12 funding for RXTE, hence decommissioning of the satellite and closeout of the mission will begin at the conclusion of scientific observations in the mid to late December 2011 time-frame. On this schedule we would expect closeout of the mission by the end of January 2012. RXTE users should plan accordingly.


RXTE Celebrates 15 Years of Discovery

March 4, 2011

On December 30, 2010, RXTE completed 15 years in orbit - years filled with an amazing array of scientific discoveries and technical accomplishments. In order to commemorate the event, the RXTE team created a poster that highlights just a few of RXTE's achievements and the people who made them possible. Both the discoveries and the people involved are too numerous to list in entirety, but we are grateful to all of you for making RXTE the success it is today!


Download a high resolution PDF of poster (9.2 MB)
RXTE 15th Birthday Poster


RXTE Resumes Normal Operations

March 3, 2011

At 2011:063:00:00 UT RXTE resumed normal operations. During the non-slewing period immediately prior to this, RXTE completed an in-depth observation of source IGR_J17091-3624. This data is available in our realtime data area as observation IDs 96420-01-01-00, -01, and -02. The data will move to the "production" subdirectory appoximately 24 hours after observation completion.


RXTE Temporarily Suspends Slewing

March 2, 2011

RXTE temporarily stopped slewing at 14:51:27 UT on March 2 due to a spacecraft anomaly. Normal operations are expected to resume on March 3. We will post another notice when operations resume.



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This page is maintained by the RXTE GOF and was last modified on Wednesday, 11-Jan-2012 13:41:40 EST.