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GSFC XMM-Newton GOF Status Report #121: XMM-NEWTON NEWS #59

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_/            XMM-NEWTON NEWS #59   ---    24-July-2006           _/
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              XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre at
               ESA's European Space Astronomy Centre,
            P.O. Box - Apdo. 50727, 28080 Madrid, Spain


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         - Pre-release of 2XMM Serendipitous Source Catalogue
         - XMM-Newton Users' Handbook update for AO-6
         - 6th ESAC SAS Workshop

Pre-release of 2XMM Serendipitous Source Catalogue

We are pleased to announce the pre-release of the second XMM-Newton
Serendipitous Source Catalogue: 2XMMp.

2XMMp is the pre-release of the second comprehensive catalogue of
serendipitous X-ray sources from the European Space Agency's (ESA)
XMM-Newton observatory. The catalogue has been constructed by the
XMM-Newton Survey Science Centre (SSC) on behalf of ESA.

The catalogue contains 153105 X-ray source detections (above the
processing likelihood threshold of 6) which relate to 123170
unique X-ray sources, making it the largest catalogue of astronomical
X-ray sources ever produced.

The catalogue contains source detections drawn from 2400 XMM-Newton EPIC
observations made between 2000 February 4 and 2006 April 20; all the
datasets used were publicly available by 2006 May 31, though not all
public observations are included in this catalogue. The median flux
(in the total photon energy band 0.2 - 12 keV) of the catalogue sources is
~2.4E-14 erg cm^-2 s^-1; ~20% have fluxes below 1.0E-14 erg cm^-2 s^-1.
A significant number of sources, namely 46796, have more than one
detection in the catalogue. The positional accuracy of the catalogue
detections is generally <2 arcsec (68% confidence radius). The flux values
from the three EPIC cameras are overall in agreement to ~2% for on-axis
sources, and ~6% off-axis.

The total area of the catalogue fields is ~400 deg2, but taking
account of the substantial overlaps between observations, the net sky
area covered independently is ~285 deg2.

The 2XMMp catalogue is essentially a subset of the full 2XMM catalogue due
to be released later this year. It differs from the final catalogue mainly
by the exclusion of the fraction of observations (about 17%) which, upon
initial visual screening, exhibit deficiencies in the automatic processing
which will require full visual screening to properly flag affected source
detections. In this way the overall quality of the 2XMMp catalogue is
maintained at the expense of excluding these problematic observations.
These observations will, of course, be included in the full 2XMM catalogue
once the detailed (and time-consuming) visual screening is completed.

The processing to generate the catalogue is largely based on the
pipeline developed for the re-processing of all observations to date and
includes a number of significant improvements over the previous data
processing system (as used by the SSC in routine processing of XMM-Newton
data on behalf of ESA). These improvements include a more sensitive
source detection scheme using exposures of all cameras, the detection and
parameterization of extended sources and the extraction of spectra and
time series for the brightest sources.

In association with the catalogue itself, various data products will
also be available (including images, exposure maps, source spectra and

The catalogue file itself is currently available, in binary FITS and
ASCII CSV formats, from:

 - the SSC Home Page, at the SSC institute, University of Leicester


 - the XMM-Newton Science Archive (XSA) web at the XMM-Newton
   SOC web page:


The catalogue and selected data products will shortly (early to mid
August 2006) be available in several other forms and from several

 - the XSA, at ESA's XMM-Newton SOC


 - LEDAS, at the SSC institute, University of Leicester


XSA and LEDAS provide a Web-based user interface allowing filtering and
searching of the catalogue, and links to associated data products.

XMM-Newton Users' Handbook update for AO-6

The XMM-Newton Users' Handbook (UHB) has been updated to version
2.4 in preparation for the next Announcement of Opportunity (AO-6)
and reflecting latest in-flight experience.

The AO-6 will open on the 28th of August 2006 with a due date
for proposals on the 16th of October 2006 (12:00 UT) (for further
details, see XMM-NEWTON NEWS #54).

The UHB contains information on the instrumentation on board
XMM-Newton and serves as the main technical support document for
proposal preparation, based on which potential XMM-Newton users
can assess the technical feasibility of their planned observations.

The XMM-Newton Users' Handbook is available on-line at


Alternatively, postscript and PDF versions of the UHB can be
downloaded from the "XMM-Newton Proposer's Info and Manuals"
portal at


6th ESAC SAS Workshop

Presentations given at the 6th Science Analysis System (SAS)
Workshop, which was held at ESAC from the 30th of May to
2st of June 2006 (cf. XMM-Newton NEWS #54) have been made available
on-line at


Yours sincerely,
XMM-Newton SOC

XMM-NEWS mailing list

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