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GSFC XMM-Newton GOF Status Report #082: XMM-NEWTON NEWS #36

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_/                 XMM-NEWTON NEWS #36   ---    01-Dec-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


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             - XMM-Newton mission extension
             - Post solar flare instrument status
             - XMM-Newton Image Gallery
             - XMM-Newton Optical Monitor Data Processing with SAS
             - "X-Ray and Radio Connections" workshop

XMM-Newton mission extension

At the November 5/6 meeting of the Science Program Committee the
mission extension of XMM-Newton up to 31-March-2008 was unanimously
approved. This means that the funding up to 31-March-2006 has been
secured, and the principle of an extension has been approved up to
31-March-2008, with a provisional budget.

Many, many thanks to all the XMM-Newton supporters out there, who
have greatly helped to make the mission a success.

Post solar flare instrument and spacecraft status

Following the severe Solar flaring activity which affected
revolutions 712 through 716, with the spacecraft in a safe
configuration, and with Rev.717 used for certain instrument health
checks and calibration, initial calibration analysis indicates that
the instruments have suffered little, if any, degradation as a
result of the flares.

For EPIC, no change is seen in Charge Transfer Inefficiency (CTI)
or energy resolution for the MOS or pn cameras, within the
precision of the measurements.

For RGS, no detectable change is seen in the system peak
(essentially the dark signal) for either RGS instrument. Minimal
change is observed in the contaminating effects of hot columns: two
cases of adjacent hot pixels (two pairs of hot pixels) have
appeared in RGS1 only, well separated from celestial X-ray

For OM, sensitivity checks on Rev.718 showed that high responsivity
values recorded during the flares had returned to normal. Stellar
photometry returned values in agreement with earlier measurements
on the same targets.

All checks performed at spacecraft level (solar arrays etc.) also
show no sign of degradation as a result of this event.

XMM-Newton Image Gallery

We have prepared an XMM-Newton Image Gallery into which scientists
who have remarkable and/or high quality images and results related
to XMM-Newton are invited to submit examples. The images are
intended to be used for educational or informational purposes.

As a starting point we selected some interesting figures from
journals and included several examples already kindly provided by
some of you.

The entry page to the XMM-Newton Image Gallery is now accessible at


The images in this gallery are available for personal use only. If
you wish to use these images for other purposes, please read our
"Conditions of Use" defined at the following URL:


Please note that the success of the XMM-Newton Image Gallery
strongly depends on your input and we therefore encourage you to
submit all your exciting XMM-Newton results. The submission can be
done via a web form linked from the Gallery front page, and which
is also available at URL:


This form allows you to upload your result and to enter detailed
information like image title, figure caption, observation details
and credits. The information will be placed in a temporary database
where it will be reviewed by the maintainer of the image database
before being added to the XMM-Newton Image Gallery.

If further information or assistance is needed, please contact us
via the XMM-Newton Helpdesk (xmmhelp@xmm.vilspa.esa.es).

Hoping that you can help us in further promoting the XMM-Newton
project via this image gallery.

XMM-Newton Optical Monitor Data Processing with SAS

OM data processing with SAS is achieved by running two chains:
omichain and omfchain, for image mode data and fast mode data
respectively. These chains consist of a concatenation of SAS tasks
which perform aperture photometry on both types of data, producing
source lists containing all objects detected in the image data, and
producing time series for the fast mode data. An interactive task,
omsource, allows the user to perform the photometry by selecting
the objects in the image using the cursor. For the detected
objects, measured count rates can be converted into fluxes at the
effective wavelength of all the filters.

The critical point in the processing of OM data has always been the
detection of the sources present in the image data. The automatic
detection is very sensitive to image artifacts and background,
which unfortunately are present in OM data due to straylight.

Over the years, SAS has evolved considerably in handling these
features, and tasks such as omdetect and omsource are now very
robust and efficient.

The correct processing of fast mode data is also affected by the
proper detection of the source (or sources) within the small fast
mode window, particularly in cases of slight off-centering of the
source. Big progress has been made with respect to this also.

Accurate knowledge of the PSF for all the filters will be
incorporated into the system with the imminent release of the
corresponding CCF.

The data obtained with the OM grisms (UV and Visible), although in
image mode, were not processed up to now, due to the lack of
algorithms to extract the spectra, and a lack of calibration for
both of them.

The next release of SAS, Version 6, due early in 2004, will have
solved all of the above mentioned problems. In addition, it will
contain a new chain, omgchain, to extract and fully calibrate OM
grism data.

This history of steady progress in improving the OM processing
underlines the fact that XMM-Newton users, including those
gathering data from the XSA archives, should always reprocess their
data  with the latest SAS version to achieve the maximum accuracy
in their results. With the release of SAS 6 in early 2004 users
will get the benefit of the very latest progress.  But it is well
worth remembering that the current version, 5.4.1, gives correct
answers for image data, when it is complemented by the omsource
interactive task, though fast mode processing may still have small
uncertainties in certain datasets. Therefore users with data
processed with SAS versions earlier than 5.4.1 have, for some time,
had the option of benefiting significantly from a reprocessing
with that version. This can usefully be done even before
SAS 6 comes on line. In general, in any reprocessing one should
always make sure to use the latest calibration files (CCF's), as
this has obvious benefits.

Planned general reprocessing

Importantly, SAS 6 will incorporate significant advances in the
handling of data from all XMM-Newton instruments.

The Survey Science Centre envisages the reprocessing, with this
coming SAS version, of all archival data from all three
instruments, in order to homogenize the contents of the archive
with respect to algorithms and calibrations applied to the
XMM-Newton data. With that reprocessing, all of the contents of the
archive to date will have been processed to a "state-of-the-art"

"X-Ray and Radio Connections" workshop

The Chandra X-Ray Center, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the
National Radio Astronomy Observatory are pleased to announce the
"X-RAY AND RADIO CONNECTIONS" workshop; a meeting focused on
scientific areas where cross-fertilization between theory and
observations in both X-ray and radio wavebands provides a key to
underlying physical processes.

The meeting will be held in the sunny and historic town of Santa
Fe, New Mexico (USA) from Tuesday February 3, through Friday
February 6, 2004. Early registration for the meeting ends December
1st, 2003.

This meeting focuses on the following scientific topics:

- Massive star cluster outflows
- Colliding stellar winds
- Supernova remnants
- Pulsar wind nebulae
- Dissipation of jets and lobes
- Cluster mergers

Please visit the following website for more information:

This website will be updated regularly with additional information.

Kristy Dyer (NRAO), Lorant Sjouwerman (NRAO) and Robert Coker (LANL)

Yours sincerely,
XMM-Newton SOC

XMM-NEWS mailing list

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