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GSFC XMM-Newton GOF Status Report #079: XMM-NEWTON NEWS #35

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_/                 XMM-NEWTON NEWS #35   ---    28-Jul-2003                 _/
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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


SOC Home Page:           
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          - XMM-Newton AO-3
	  - XMM-Newton Remote Proposal Submission System (XRPS)
	  - Supported platforms for futures SAS releases
	  - Reminder: a planning tool for OM observations

XMM-Newton AO-3

The XMM-Newton proposal submission process ended on the 30th of April 
2003. In total 692 proposals were received. (This number is slightly 
lower than the number quoted in XMM-Newton News #33, because of two 
additional double submissions). Thirty nine of the received proposals 
fell into the category of the "Large Programs", which was offered for 
the first time.

The distribution with respect to the scientific categories was as 

Scientific  Standard    Large      Total
Category(#) Proposals   Programs   Number
A            95          2          97
B           107          6         113
C           114          5         119
D            68          0          68
E           157         15         172
F           112         11         123
Total       653         39         692
(#: A: Stars, White Dwarfs and Solar System, B: White Dwarf Binaries, 
Neutron Stars, Cataclysmic Variables and Black Holes, C: Supernovae, 
Supernova Remnants, Diffuse (galactic Emission and Isolated Neutron 
Stars, D: Galaxies and Galactic Surveys, E: Active Galactic Nuclei, 
Quasars, BL-Lac Objects and X-ray Background, F: Groups of Galaxies, 
Cluster of Galaxies and Superclusters)

The evaluation of the proposals was organized around 14 panels, 
consisting of five scientists each. In total 70 scientists from 16 
countries reviewed proposals for XMM-Newton's AO-3.

In a first step every proposal was reviewed individually by each of the 
five scientists of the corresponding panel. After their individual 
review, the scientists of each panel met, discussed their views and 
agreed on a priority order for the proposed observations. The panel 
meetings took place between the 4th and the 13th of June 2003.

During the chairpersons meeting, which took place on June 23rd and 24th 
2003 in the XMM-Newton SOC (located at VILSPA, near Madrid) the results 
of the different panels were merged, cases of duplication were resolved 
and the overall scientific balance within each scientific category was 
evaluated. A special session was devoted to the discussion and final 
selection of the "Large Programs", based on the recommendations of the 
individual panels

In total, 948 observation were selected for AO-3. The distribution with 
respect to the scientific categories is as follows:

Scientific   Observations(#)    Rank of  Observations  Observations
Category     A or B    C        last C   Large Pro.    (total)
A:            51        50      101      19            120
B:            57        43      100       1            101
C:            72        57      129       0            129
D:            54        45       99       0             99
E:           132       165      297      15            312
F:            90        65      155      32            187
Total:       456       425               67            948
(#: Repetitions, and "candidates" from a list of triggered
observations, are not counted).

After approval by the Director of Science the SOC sent the results of 
the review to every proposer on June 2nd 2003. The whole evaluation 
process was finished within two months.
Please, note that the rank of the last C priority target was wrongly 
given in some of the e-mails which were sent out. The SOC apologizes 
for this.

The list of accepted observations is provided at:


This page also gives access to the abstracts of the accepted proposals.

The XMM-Newton SOC wishes every successful PI interesting and exciting 
results from their observations. It should be stressed that 
observations will only be finally accepted after the full observing 
details are specified during the second phase of the proposal 
submission. The details of the scheduling of the second phase 
submission process are specified in the e-mails which were sent to each 
PI of a successful proposal.

XMM-Newton Remote Proposal Submission System (XRPS)

Following some problems encountered with XRPS performance during the 
heaviest-load period of the XMM-Newton AO-2 proposal submission
exercise in October 2001, the XMM-Newton Remote Proposal Submission
System and strategy have both been dramatically revised. Network and 
firewall approaches have been adapted, hardware performance has been
enhanced, and extensive efficiencies have been achieved in software
implementation. The adoption of a two-phase proposal submission 
strategy ensures that during the AO-3 Phase II Proposal Data Entry 
cycle, the full capabilities of the revised XRPS system will be 
focussed on those users whose successful proposals have been awarded 
AO-3 observing time by OTAC.

For these reasons we are confident that problems such as those
encountered at the single deadline of the AO-2 Proposal Submission
exercise will play no part in the staggered AO-3 Phase II Proposal 
Data Entry cycle.

That said, it is only common sense and friendly advice to allow that 
our users will enjoy the benefits of a more responsive system and data 
entry environment if they avoid leaving the job until the last 
moment! So we encourage PIs to benefit from the full extent of the
time windows that have been made available for proposal data entry.

Supported platforms for futures SAS releases

The number of binary distributions of each SAS release provided to
XMM-Newton observers is always a trade-off. On the one hand it is our
intention to cover the needs of the astronomical community, on the 
other the workload required to produce, support, maintain, test and 
document the various distributions must reflect available resources and 
be reconciled with other demands on limited manpower. It is not 
possible to support all platforms.

We have been asked by the XMM-Newton Users Group to announce well in
advance the platforms we are able to support officially with binary
distributions for each SAS release. We foresee the next SAS release 
(SAS 6.0) towards the end of this year. The platforms we intend to
support officially are:

Solaris 2.6
Solaris 2.8
Linux Red Hat 9.0
Linux SuSE 7.3
Mac OS Darwin 6.6
Tru64 OSF5.1 (provided by the X-ray group of the MPE, Garching)

The SciSim & SAS Maintenance Team @ the XMM-Newton SOC

Reminder: a planning tool for OM observations

As it was announced in the XMM-Newton News #31, the Optical Monitor 
Team at MSSL has set up a web page where useful hints on proposal
preparation, including an OM planning tool, are available.
The URL is:


A pointer to this page can be found in the XMM-Newton SOC main page, 
under Project Related Links.

Yours sincerely,
XMM-Newton SOC
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