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GSFC XMM-Newton GOF Status Report #062: XMM-NEWTON NEWS #27

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_/                 XMM-NEWTON NEWS #27   ---    20-Dec-2002                 _/
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                ESA, XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre at
            Villafranca del Castillo, Satellite Tracking Station
                P.O. Box - Apdo. 50727, 28080 Madrid, Spain


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          - Status of the RGS/MOS cooling
          - Status of the Scientific Analysis Software (SAS)
          - XMM-Newton Observation & Data Processing Status: update
          - EPIC background files
          - Users' Guide to the XMM-Newton Science Analysis System

Status of the RGS/MOS cooling

In XMM-Newton News #25 and #26, issued in November, the benefits of
reducing the operating temperatures of the RGS and EPIC MOS instruments
were discussed. The results of operating RGS and MOS at -110 and -120 
degrees C, respectively, were reported. These include major reductions 
in hot pixels and hot columns, and reduction by some factors in 
charge-transfer inefficiency (CTI). The illustration of some benefits 
achieved through the cooling, presented at URL


speak for themselves.

Now, in mid-December 2002, we can confirm the benefits described 
earlier, and also report that ongoing contamination monitoring 
measurements show no sign at all of any contamination of the detectors 
at their reduced operating temperatures. New, post-cooling, calibration 
files (CCFs) have been derived for RGS and MOS and were initially 
checked-out in the SAS by the first days of December. During the 
cooling period, normal science observations continued on most
revolutions.  Although some delays in data product generation were 
anticipated in order to allow the re-establishment of the instrument 
calibration after cooling, SSC made use of the intervening time to 
tackle processing of some old, problematic, datasets which required 
particular attention. So impacts of the cooling campaign on product 
generation have been minimised.

Status of the Scientific Analysis Software (SAS)

A new SAS version (SAS 5.4.0) has been successfully built in the 
last few days. It will be used in its Pipeline Processing System (PPS) 
incarnation over the Christmas period for reducing the backlog in data 
product generation. We expect to have returned fully to the normal 
data production cycle between mid and end of January 2003. The data 
processed over the Christmas period include the so-called Science 
Validation (SV) data. These data are used for assessing the scientific
quality of the SAS and its associated calibration before every new 
SAS release. The public SAS release can therefore only be done after 
inspection of these SV data products. Assuming successful completion 
of this exercise, it should be possible to release a new SAS by 

Extensive calibration analysis has been performed by the instrument 
and XMM-Newton SOC teams during the last couple of months; not 
exclusively related to the MOS and RGS cooling campaign. This has resulted 
in more than 80 new calibration files, some of which require the new 
software included in the latest SAS version. Public release of these new 
calibration files, which are already in use by the PPS, will take place 
together with the SAS 5.4 in January.

XMM-Newton Observation & Data Processing Status: update

The XMM-Newton Observation & Data Processing Status page available at 


has been updated.

For observations of which the proprietary date has passed, the date 
public now is a hyperlink to the postcard server in the XMM-Newton
Science Archive (XSA) and no longer a simple hyperlink to the XSA 

EPIC background files

XMM-Newton background maps for the 3 EPIC instruments in their
different instrument/mode/filter combinations and in several different
energy bands have been constructed by Dr Andy Read (University of
Birmingham, UK), using a superposition of many pointed observations. 
Event datasets for the different instrument/mode/filter combinations 
have also been constructed, with longer exposure times than for 
previously created files. 

A description of the construction and usage of the background maps and 
event files, along with details on how to obtain these background 
products and related software can be obtained from the Univ. of 
Birmingham web page linked on the XMM-Newton Proposer's Info and 
Manuals SOC page available at URL:


Users' Guide to the XMM-Newton Science Analysis System

XMM-Newton SOC has released a major update of the Users' Guide to the
XMM-Newton Science Analysis System (SAS) which is available now in
different formats (postscript, pdf and html) from the XMM-Newton
Proposer's Info and Manuals Web page (Section: Data Analysis) at URL:


This version of the Users's Guide (valid from SAS version 5.3 onwards) 
describes the constituents of the EPIC and OM observation data files, 
the standard pipeline processed data products and the SAS analysis 
steps which, in general, have to be conducted prior to the scientific 
analysis of XMM-Newton data products. We wish to thank all colleagues
whose comments made this a more complete and accurate document.

Merry Christmas to you and yours, and all our very best wishes 
for a happy and successful year 2003. Feliz Navidad!

Yours sincerely,
XMM-Newton SOC
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