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ASCA Guest Observer Facility

GOF Status Report

N. E. White^1, F. Nagaze^2


This issue of ASCANews is timed to appear at the time of the ASCA Cherry Blossom Workshop. This event held in Washington DC will provide an opportunity for the ASCA user community to present their latest results, hear about the latest status of the mission, provide a forum to discuss calibration issues and consider future observation strategies. The next Announcement of Opportunity to propose for ASCA observation time will appear in mid-May, with a deadline in mid-August. This will be for one year of observations that coincide with calendar year 1998.

Last summer the ASCA program was included in NASA's senior review and the ASCA users group helped write the proposal. The ASCA program was ranked highest of the currently flying X-ray astronomy missions in terms of science per dollar, and second overall (with ISO coming in first). This review recommended continued NASA funding for 1997-2000. One change recommended by the senior review is to pool the grant money for US investigators from ASCA, ROSAT, SAX and RXTE with funding available in the Astrophysics Data Program (ADP). This will mean that successful ASCA investigators at US institutions in the next round will be required to write a second proposal for funding. While this may seem like double jeopardy, it will increase the pool of money available because the ADP funds will be now available for first time analysis of data. In addition it will allow for proposals for larger programs that will combine archival research, with new data, and multi-satellite programs.

There is currently a major effort underway to understand the current limitations of the ASCA calibrations and this issue of ASCANews contains a report on this topic by Keith Gendreau. We look forward in the next few months to the release of a new calibration that may reduce the systematic uncertainties, and resolve the origin of some arbitrary correction factors that were necessary to obtain a consistent fit across all the instruments for the Crab Nebula and 3C273. This issue also contains other calibration articles dealing with specific topics of interest. Note in particular the article by Dotani et. al. which shows how a technique called "RDD correction" can be used to recover the sprectral resolution of 4-CCD mode, to that of 1-CCD mode.

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