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XTENEWS: AO-12, new software and background models, HEXTE cluster A

In this Message:

    RXTE Cycle 12 Announced
    New PCA Background Models Released
    HEXTE cluster A is now staring (not rocking)
    New HEASoft 6.1.2 includes XTE updates

RXTE Cycle 12 Announced

    NASA has announced a new proposal opportunity for RXTE Guest
    Observer Cycle 12, soliciting proposals for new PCA and/or HEXTE
    observations to be carried out beginning on or around June 1,
    2007. Cycle 12 is expected to last approximately 18 months.
    *Proposals are due January 26, 2007.*

    Potential proposers should note that this Announcement is solely
    for the selection of observing time on RXTE and that no funds
    are available for support of selected proposals. Budgets are
    not to be submitted in response to this announcement. Observers
    with proposals accepted through this Announcement may submit
    funding proposals to the NASA Astrophysics Data Program (ADP).

    The schedule for RXTE Cycle 12 is as follows:

    * Release Date - October 23, 2006 as an Announcement
    * Due Date for Proposal Submission - January 26, 2007, 4:30pm ET
    * Proposal Peer Review - April 2007
    * Start of Cycle 12 observations -  in or around June 2007 (see below)

    In general, RXTE Cycle 12 proposals should cover the time period
    of June 29, 2007 through January 1, 2009, with the following
    exceptions. Observations that require coordination with other
    observatories can be proposed to begin as early as May 1, 2007.
    Observations can be proposed for as late as February 28, 2009
    with compelling justification, however PIs should be aware that
    demands on RXTE's time may be great in the final two months of
    its operations.

    In addition:

    Cycle 11 TOOs will not be triggered after June 28th.

    PIs who have Cycle 11 monitoring campaigns and wish to continue
    them in Cycle 12 should submit a Cycle 12 proposal to continue
    monitoring - the XTE project will then extend the Cycle 11
    observations until June 28.  (Extension time will be provided
    by the XTE project, not deducted from Cycle 12 proposed time.)

    The NASA RXTE Cycle 12 Announcement (NNH06ZDA001R) available at
    http://rxte.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/RXTE_Cycle12.txt contains detailed
    information about the program.

    Further details can be found at
    http://rxte.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/cycle12.html. Scientific and technical
    questions concerning RXTE Cycle 12 should as always be directed to the
    RXTE Guest Observer Facility at: xtehelp@athena.gsfc.nasa.gov.


New PCA Background Models Released

    New background models for RXTE PCA observations were recently made
    available to the public.  The new models have removed long term trends
    that became apparent over the years (with magnitudes of ~0.2
    ct/s/PCU). Only models for "Epoch 5" -- May 2000 to the present --
    were changed.

    The unmodeled variance in the background rate, which fundamentally
    limits the sensitivity to source variations, is 0.04 ct/s/PCU or
    better, in the top layer 2-10 keV band, and 0.02 ct/s/PCU in the top
    layer 10-20 keV band. However, for purposes of determining absolute
    fluxes of sources at arbitrary points on the sky, the cosmic X-ray
    background is the limiting factor. The new background models can be
    downloaded from the "PCA Digest page."


HEXTE cluster A is now staring (not rocking)

    Earlier this year, HEXTE cluster A experienced more periods where on-
    and off-source modulation (ie. rocking) ceased. Because of this, the
    decision was made to permanently leave HEXTE Cluster A in the
    on-source position, rather than risk it becoming unrecoverable in an
    off-source position. The detectors in cluster A are still functioning
    well; HEXTE cluster B also still modulates as normal, and shows no
    sign of impairment. The HEXTE team has delivered new software that
    will allow users to generate cluster A background estimates from
    simultaneous cluster B background files (see Katja Pottschmidt's HEAD
    poster about hextebackest at

    The new HEXTE software task has been made publicly available with
    the interim HEAsoft (FTOOLS) release, made public 2006 December 6. 
    Before analyzing any HEXTE A data taken in 2006, we
    recommend users consult the RXTE "Significant Events" page
    (http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/whatsnew/big.html) to see
    whether HEXTE A was fixed or rocking when their data was collected.

New HEASoft  6.1.2 includes XTE updates

    The December 6, 2006 HEASoft 6.1.2 release can be downloaded

    NEW in this release:


	- estimates HEXTE Cluster A background (from cluster B)

    UPDATED from HEASoft v6.1:


	- Added WCS keywords to output image.


	- Corrected marfrmf call.


A service of the RXTE GOF, NASA/GSFC

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