Prepared by: Luigi Piro, BeppoSAX Mission Scientist Paolo Giommi, ASI Science Data Center Date: April 20 2001 On behalf of: The BeppoSAX Scientific Steering Committee and ASI
The BeppoSAX mission (acronym for the Italian Satellite per Astronomia in raggi X, SAX, later renamed BeppoSAX in honor of Giuseppe Occhialini) is a program of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) with participation of the Netherlands Agency for Aerospace Programs (NIVR), developed with the support of a consortium of Institutes in Italy and in The Netherlands and the Space Science Department of ESA.
BeppoSAX is the first X-ray mission offering a very wide spectral coverage from 0.1 and up to 300 keV, with well balanced performances of the low energy and high energy instrumentation, a good energy resolution (8%@6 keV, 4% or 15%@60 keV) and imaging capabilities (resolution of the order of about 1.2 arcmin HPR at 6 keV) in the 0.1-10 keV range. The scientific payload sensitivity allows the exploitation of the full band of BeppoSAX for relatively weak sources (1 mCrab, or erg cm s). The MECS and LECS sensitivity goes down to erg cm s.
A detailed description of the mission, necessary for proposal preparation, is given in the BeppoSAX Observers' Handbook and in its Addendum . Both documents can be retrieved from the following anonymous ftp services:
or from the mirrors
Detailed and frequently updated information about this AO and the mission in general is also available on-line from the BeppoSAX Web pages at the ASI Science Data Center (ASDC)
and the HEASARC:
The instrument complement is composed of:
All these instruments have narrow fields of view (of about 1 degree) and point in the same direction (Narrow Field Instruments, or NFI).
The BeppoSAX mission is also capable of monitoring large regions ( square degrees) of the sky with a resolution better than 5 arcmin in the 2-30 keV energy band, and therefore to study long term variability of sources down to about 1 mCrab and to detect X-ray transient phenomena for follow up observations with the NFI. This is obtained by means of two coded mask proportional counters (Wide Field Cameras; WFC) pointing in opposite directions perpendicular to the NFI.
Finally, the anticoincidence scintillator shields of the PDS is used as a gamma-ray burst monitor in the range 40-700 keV.
BeppoSAX was launched on April 30, 1996 by an Atlas 1-Centaur from Cape Canaveral into a 600 km orbit at 4 degrees inclination. The satellite thus nearly avoids the South Atlantic Anomaly and takes full advantage of the screening effect of the Earth magnetic field in reducing the cosmic ray induced background. This is important to achieve the necessary sensitivity for observations of weak sources with the high energy experiments, particularly with the PDS.
The satellite achieves 1 arcmin pointing stability. The main attitude constraint derives from the need to maintain the normal to the solar arrays (X axis) within 30 degrees from the Sun. The scientific instruments are pointing in a direction perpendicular to the X axis. Therefore at any time the sky region accessible to NFI is a band 60 degrees wide (50 % of the sky), and for the WFC a slightly larger region. Depending on target position, the observing efficiency will be limited to 50 % on average, by Earth eclipses (which subtends an angle of about 130 degrees at 600 km) and by passages in high background regions. Further constraints are imposed by attitude operations (see Addendum)
The satellite is operated from an Operational Control Center (OCC), while the quick look of scientific data is performed at the Scientific Operation Center (SOC). Both are located in the same site in Rome, and are connected to the ground station in Malindi, Kenya by a relay satellite (Intelsat). The satellite passes over the ground station every orbit. This allows a prompt operation and control of the satellite, particularly important in the case of Targets Of Opportunity (TOO) that require timely follow up observations. During each orbit up to 450 Mbits of data are stored onboard and relayed to the ground during station passage. The average data rate available to instruments will be about 60 kbit/s, but peak rates of up to 100 kbit/s can be accommodated. A Science Data Center (SDC), partly co-located with the OCC, takes care of mission scheduling, raw data archiving (about 1 GByte of data produced every day) and FOT (Final Observing Tape) production.
Support to the scientific community is provided by the newly established ASI Science Data Center (ASDC). This includes FOT distribution to PI's, software maintenance and calibration archiving.
After launch, all satellite sub-systems have been checked-out (Commissioning phase); the first calibration phase (Science Verification Phase, SVP) has been carried out in the period Jul. - Sept. 1996, after which the AO1 program started.
In flight verification showed that scientific instruments and system components performed nominally (or better) with the following modifications :
Furthermore the typical manoeuvre will last a minimum of 1-2 orbits. This sets the minimum pointing duration to 40 ksec.
See the Addendum to the SAX Observers' Handbook for further details on instruments' performances.
As of March 2001 BeppoSAX carried out about 1600 pointings, with typical duration of 20-100 ksec; for AO5 the minimum exposure has been set to 40 ks. Furthermore, due to the implementation of the new gyroless pointing system with a potential loss of observing efficiency in the early phases of testing, the project will aim to minimize the total number of observations to be performed in AO5 . For this reason, programs based on long pointings (rather than repetition of shorter observations on a same target) will be generally preferred.
As in the past the NFI are expected to be selected as the prime instruments most of the time, the WFC will be operated in prime mode to monitor selected regions of the sky. Thanks to their large field of view, the WFC are normally operated, in the so-called secondary mode, to search for transient phenomena, when the NFI perform their sequence of pointed observations. The observing program will include follow-up (TOO) observations of transients with the NFI. The operation capability of BeppoSAX will allow target acquisition usually within 30 hours from its discovery. Shorter reaction times can be achieved in favorable situations, but they cannot be guaranteed. TOO observations are open for proposals, as described is the section 2.2 (but see also sect. 1.1.1).
Due to the constraints introduced by the LECS and by the attitude system, the observing efficiency within the requested time window may be substantially below the optimum value. The level at which these observations will be feasible remains to be assessed after the gyro-less mode is operational. The project reserves the right not to perform an observation in case the efficiency is less than .
For the fifth year of operations not more than 7% of the program will be allocated to time-constrained (e.g. coordinated, phase-dependant) observations.
This AO5 calls for proposals for Prime Observing Time (OT) of NFI and WFC. Following the positive decision to extend the BeppoSAX mission for another year, taken by ASI on April 10 2001, AO5 will cover the period June 20011 - end of April 2002.
The proposals will be reviewed and selected, on the basis of their scientific merit and of their feasibility, by a peer committee, the Time Allocation Committee (TAC), under the auspices of the BeppoSAX Scientific Steering Committee (SSSC).
Data from the Gamma-Ray Burst Monitor (GRBM) require very specific and detailed knowledge of the instrument. Scientists interested in these data may find more details in Sect. 4.6 of the Sax Observers' Handbook (SOH) and should contact the hardware team for details. A letter of intent may be submitted to the SSSC (c/o SAX SDC, e-mail to email@example.com) within the same deadline of the Prime OT.
For AO5 100% of the prime OT is dedicated to the Guest Observer Program (GOP) and is open for competition to proposals led by PIs from any country worldwide.
The AO1, AO2, AO3 & AO4 lists of approved pointing and the corresponding abstracts can be accessed from the ASDC WWW interface and its mirror:
The list of approved observations is also available via
The AO1, AO2, AO3 & AO4 pointing lists can also be accessed in any of the following ways:
Access to the list of performed observations is also available via Web browsers at the following URLs:
The successful proponents must obtain all the necessary financial support from their home institution or national agency.
High priority will be given to proposals aimed at exploiting the unique instrumental and operational capabilities of BeppoSAX, which will allow studies of key astrophysical objects and phenomena that cannot be done with any other orbiting X- or Gamma-ray observatory during the AO5 period. In particular:
1. Programs aimed at exploiting the operational flexibility of the mission in performing TOO observations (see next section on TOO programs), triggered either by GRBM and/or WFC or by other astronomical instruments.
2. Program aimed at studying the broad band spectral behaviour of sources, with particular regard to the high energy range (E10 keV) and/or to sources which emit the bulk of their energy beyond 10 keV. While the main scientific goal of a proposal shall be achieved with BeppoSAX itself, the added value of a combined observation by BeppoSAX with Chandra or Newton-XMM in providing the highest quality spectral data from 0.1 to 200 kev will be favourably considered vis a vis with the limitation on the total time than can be spent on time critical observations (see section 1.1.1).
An extended account of the scientific objectives specific of BeppoSAX which can serve as guidelines for the AO5 program can be found in the "Scientific Justification for BeppoSAX AO5 extension" at http://www.asdc.asi.it/bepposax/scijust.html or http://www.ias.rm.cnr.it/sax/AO5/scijust1.html
Interested proponents should be aware that implementing TOO observations imposes heavy requirements on the Ground Segment operations and will inevitably have a negative impact on the overall observing efficiency. Furthermore due to the constraints introduced by the LECS and by the attitude system, the observing efficiency of the target at the requested time may be substantially reduced or be, in a worst case situation, unfeasible. While the scientific merit of TOO observations in the context of this mission is clear, the level at which they will be feasible, with an acceptable efficiency reduction, after the implementation of the gyro-less mode, remains to be assessed. Proponents should be in particular aware that the LECS efficiency - that depends on the period of observation - cannot be optimized and can be, in worst cases - near to zero. They must then specify in the proposal, on the basis of the scientific case, the minimum LECS efficiency considered acceptable. If this is not verified, the observation will not be carried out. As a reference, the typical LECS efficiency normalized to MECS ranges from 30% to 60% with an average of 40% as a result of the scheduling optimization.
As a rule, for a source or a class of sources to be taken into consideration for TOO observations, it is required that special proposals (TOO proposals, see Sect. 3.3.1) be submitted, even in the event that a source (or sources) might be target(s) in an ordinary proposal.
The overall time devoted TOO observations will be no more than 25 % of the total AO time.
A list of possible subjects for TOO proposals includes:
Interested scientists are invited to consider that the already approved CP and GOP TOO programs, see Sect 2.2 (Table 1,2,3,4) and the URL:
|Known Be transients (P20 s)||2||300||NA|
|New Be transient or Known P20 s||1||200||PE,NA|
|New transients: WFC trigger||3||60||C|
|Soft X-ray transient||1||200||C|
|New soft X-ray transient||1||200||NA|
|Recurrent BHC transient||1||130||NA|
|New BHC transients||2||300||NA|
|Cyg X-1: high state||1||100||NA|
|Cyg X-1: Batse trigger||1||60||NA|
|Atoll source: Batse trigger||1||190||NA|
|Active state of SGR sources||1||100||NA|
|New Supernova event||1||150||NA|
|Classical and Recurrent Novae in outburst||1||120||C|
|EGRET -ray sources||2||40||NA|
|GRB afterglow (SAX Trigger)||8||500||C|
|XTE J0054-72 or SAX J0054.9-7226||1||30||C|
NA: not activated; C : program completed; PE : partially executed; Project TOO
CygX-1 in High state
|Recurrent BHC Transients (a)||1||200||C|
|New transients BHC (a)||1||200||C|
|Fast spinning Hard X-ray Transients (b)||1||180||C|
|Fast spinning Hard X-ray Transients in outburst (b)||1||180||C|
|Slow X-ray PSR transients (b)||1||180||C|
|V0332+53 during Outburst (b)||1||180||C|
|The supersoft source RXJ 0527-6954||1||75||NA|
|New transients: WFC trigger||8||160||PE|
|GROJ1655-40 during radio outburst||1||90||NA|
|GROJ1655-40 during X-ray outburst||1||90||NA|
|Soft Gamma repeaters||2||120||C|
|CYGX-3 during radio outburst||1||110||NA|
|Hard X-ray burster (BATSE trigger)||1||100||NA|
|VWHyi and UGem in outburst||1||200||C|
|BSAX & CGRO of CentaurusA||1||60||NA|
|Soft X-ray transients in outburst||2||185||C|
|GRB afterglows detected by OSSE||1||50||NA|
|A0535+26 in outburst||1||100||NA|
|Low state of Eta Carinae||1||50||C|
|High Latitude Transients (Part II)||2||60||PE|
|GRB afterglow (SAX trigger)||9||913||C|
|GRB afterglow (BATSE/RXTE-PCA trigger)||6||600||PE|
NA: not activated; C : program completed; PE : partially executed; (a), (b): merged proposals.
Hard X-ray transients
|Nova U Sco||1||50||C|
|Broad band spectra of BHC||1||80||PE|
|Multif. campaign on GRS1915+105 (a)||2||390||PE|
|Study of new superluminar XTEJ1748-288 (a)||2||390||PE|
|Obs. of GROJ1655-40 in outburst (a)||2||390||PE|
|CygX-1 in High state||1||100||PE|
|New transients: WFC trigger||6||120||PE|
|Nova Velorum 1999||1||70||C|
|New transients BHC||1||150||C|
|GRB afterglow (SAX trigger)||12||700||PE|
|GRB afterglow (BATSE, XTE trigger)||3||300||NA|
|GRB afterglow (IPN trigger)||2||200||NA|
|Recurrent BH transients||1||150||NA|
|X-ray spectrum of X 1755-33||1||60||NA|
|Obs. of known SGRs||1||50||NA|
|Obs. of new SGRs||1||100||NA|
|The ms X-ray pulsar SAX J1808.4-3658||1||200||PE|
|Solving the mistery of XTEJ0421+560||1||170||NA|
|Study of SGR 1900+14 in outburst||1||150||NA|
|Cyg X-3: obs. during radio outburst||1||200||C|
|Bright BL Lacs||1||40||NA|
|Soft X-ray transients||1||150||C|
|Obs. of AGN in exceptional states||2||100||NA|
A (active) : waiting trigger activation; C : program completed;
PE : partially executed; (a): merged proposals
Project TOO; total ceiling for GRB programs: 800 Ksec.
GRB afterglow (SAX trigger)
|GRB afterglow (BATSE, XTE trigger)||5||500||A|
|GRB afterglow (IPN trigger)||3||300||A|
|GRB afterglow (HETE-2 trigger)||4||320||A|
|Afterglows in x-ray flashes||4||400||A|
|Afterglows of Short GRBs||3||480||A|
|Recurrent BH transients||1||150||A|
|New transients BHC||2||360||PE|
|Known and unknown HXRT slow spinning||1||100||A|
|Fast spinning HXRT||1||200||C|
|Soft X-ray transients||1||200||C|
|Transients in WFC fields of Gal Bulge||3||120||PE|
|Obs. of AGN in exceptional states||5||250||A|
|Centaurus A in high state||1||160||A|
|New Core Collapse Supernovae||3||300||A|
|Brightest Novae in Outburst||1||99||A|
|Spectrum of the BHC X 1755-33||1||60||A|
|Solving the mystery of XTE J0421+560||1||170||A|
|CygX-1 in High state||1||150||C|
|XTEJ1748-288 in outburst||1||250||A|
|A0535+26 in outburst||1||150||A|
|GROJ1655-40 in outburst||1||120||A|
|SAX J1819.3-2525 in Outburst||1||50||A|
|SGRs in Active State||2||240||PE|
A (active) : waiting trigger activation; C : program completed;
PE : partially executed; (a): merged proposals
Please note that the total time allocated for TOO proposals in AO5 is limited to a ceiling of 2.5 Msec (including GRB programs). Due to the unpredictable nature of TOO, the overall time of approved proposals is greater than 2.5 Msec. TOO observations will be therefore carried out on a first-come first-served basis. Should the ceiling be reached before the end of the AO, the Mission Scientist, in consultation with the TAC chairperson, and taking into account the schedule and the overall observing performances, can decide to increase the ceiling further.
TOO programs approved in AO4 will be performed only if the trigger condition compliant with the protocol is verified before the end of AO4 program (extended to June 15, 2001).
TOO programs approved but not (or partially) carried out in AO4 must be resubmitted. The proponents should specify, in such a case, that the program is to be considered a continuation of AO4.
In a TOO proposal, the scientific justification must be accompanied by detailed criteria for TOO validation (trigger condition) and for the observational strategy that should be followed after the TOO event. In the case of recurrent transients and of changes in persistent sources, it is expected that the TOO proposal might contain also the request of a monitoring program with BeppoSAX aimed at detecting and qualifying the event. In this case, it is mandatory for the proponents to submit a separate proposal covering the monitoring program too.
For the accepted proposals, the TAC could confirm or revise both trigger condition and the observational follow-up plan. To activate a TOO approved program in AO5 the PI must alert the Mission Scientist (firstname.lastname@example.org). The PI will assist the TAC Chairman (or a TAC member appointed by the Chairman) and the Mission Scientist in the following responsibilities:
The PI of the TOO observations successfully carried out will also be the owner of the WFC data (on that particular target) that had triggered the program.
Most of TOO targets suited to BeppoSAX capabilities should fall within approved AO programs. Nonetheless it is still possibile that unforseable events of exceptional scientific importance are not covered by any approved AO program. In such a case a Project TOO observation can be solicited any time of the year by sending a request to the Mission Scientist (email@example.com). The request shall contain a scientific case demonstrating the uniqueness of the event and the relevance of BeppoSAX observations. It is stressed that these requests will be analyzed only if the event is not a part of a TOO-AO program, so interested scientists are invited to check the approved programs before sending any request. Project TOO data are property of the BeppoSAX team and are to be exploited under the responsibility of the Mission Scientist. Should the observation be approved, the proponent and her/his team will collaborate with BeppoSAX team scientists for a joint exploitation of the data.
An on-line tool useful to estimate the visibility of a source is available at the following URLs:
Note however that the visibility window may be substantially restricted depending on the availability of guide stars for the gyroless mode. While a final assessment must await for on-board implementation, we warn that observation of a target at a specified time, even within the constraints allowed by the solar panels, may not be feasible.
Using the expected target properties (X-ray flux, spectral shape, variability, etc.), the observer must estimate whether the scientific objectives of his/her proposal (e.g. determination of spectral shape, variability, measurement of spectral features) can be achieved and should estimate the exposure time necessary to fulfill that purpose.
Such an assessment can be done using the tools available from the BeppoSAX SDC Web pages.
The ASDC Web Event Simulator and On-line Analysis Service
This tool allows proposers to simulate observations with the imaging instruments of BeppoSAX (and several other satellites). The simulated field can include both pointlike and extended sources with source positions, spectra etc. input by the user or automatically retrieved from a catalog of ROSAT sources. The output is a FITS/OGIP event file that can be analysed using standard X-ray analysis software or directly over the web using the ASDC interactive archive system.
A WWW tool for count-rate estimation (based on the HEASARC PIMMS) is available at the following URLs:
Detailed spectral simulations can be performed using XSPEC, as illustrated at the following URL:
In the same URL XSPEC macros are available to ease the (sometime complex) simulation procedure.
A new Web interface to XSPEC developed by HEASARC is available at
The BeppoSAX primary time proposal is composed of five different parts, each corresponding to one or more forms. The first four parts include information that will be used by the BeppoSAX team for observation planning. The fifth part will be used by the Time Allocation Committee for the proposals selection. The proposal form is arranged in a tree structure as follows:
General Information Form Pointing Form #1 Instrument Form #1 for pointing #1 Instrument Form #2 for pointing #1 .... Instrument Form #n for pointing #1 Additional Information Form for pointing #1 .... Pointing Form #m Instrument Form #1 for pointing #m Instrument Form #2 for pointing #m .... Instrument Form #n for pointing #m Additional Information Form for pointing #m Scientific Justification Form
All the instrument forms related to a pointing form must come immediately next to it.
A proposal template for the first four forms is shown in Sect. 6. It is a simple ascii file that can be compiled using a normal text editor or with the help of a WWW tool available at the following URL:
The proposal form can also be retrieved via network, as explained in Sect. 3.2.2, compiled with any editor and sent to BeppoSAX SDC as explained in Sect. 4.
The present section is intended to provide guidance in filling the forms, with particular regard to those entries that are not self explanatory. More details on the format of the electronic form are given in the next section.
In the order: first name, middle name (initials), last name.
Co-I's name, institute, country, phone number, e-mail
The first name of the list should be that of a coinvestigator who can act as an alternate contact in case the PI is unavailable. Communications between the scheduling and operations teams and the PI, or his designated contact, may be necessary prior to an observation to check coordinates or to redefine the observation modes.
Designation of a contact CoI is mandatory for TOO proposals. The proposal template has been prepared for a maximum of 10 CoI's. It is however possible to add more CoI's if necessary.
Observation Program Reference
GOP for Guest Observer Program.
Proposal Subject Category
Write the identificator of the item that best describes the requested observation.
1 = Stars
2 = Compact Galactic Sources
3 = Supernova Remnants
4 = Normal Galaxies
5 = Active Galactic Nuclei
6 = Clusters of Galaxies
7 = Other
STANDARD or TOO. The proposal cannot be of mixed type, that is a STANDARD proposal cannot contain TOO targets and vice. This is due to the fact that TOO proposals are ``incomplete", in that some information (coordinates, time windows) necessary for the schedule generation is missing. Only after the TOO event, when the necessary information will be available, the proposal data will be processed in the scheduling procedure. In the case of recurrent transients and of changes in persistent sources, the TOO proposal might contain the request of a monitoring program with BeppoSAX aiming at catching and qualifying the event. In this case, it is mandatory to submit, also and separately, a standard proposal describing the monitor program. In case of a TOO proposal the proponents must specify in the scientific justification and in the additional information if the program is a continuation of an approved AO4 TOO proposal.
Please keep the abstract brief ( characters).
Total Observing Time
Give the total amount of time requested in the proposal in units of ksec.
Note that the exposure time refers to the MECS instruments, and that the exposure times of ALL NFI instruments must be set equal to the MECS exposure.
Select one of the following:
DAT, Digital Audio tape;
Institution Authority Endorsing the Proposal
Authority that guarantees availability of adequate funding and facilities for data exploitation.
Use commonly accepted names for objects so that coordinate checks are facilitated.
Use J2000.0 coordinates given as hh mm ss.s , dd mm ss.
Specify NFI or WFC.
WFC Maximum Pointing Offset
This field is relevant only if the Instrument Class is WFC and specifies the maximum acceptable offset angle of the target from the center of the field. Default is 10 degrees.
Seven types of time constraints are supported:
For a Fully Constrained pointing the observer must specify one Time Window.
For a Partially Constrained pointing the observer can specify up to 5 different alternative Time Windows.
For a Periodically Repeated series of pointings the observer must specify the Period and the Period Tolerance, as a % of the Period.
For an Aperiodically Repeated series of pointings the observer can specify up to 10 Time Spacings and one Time Spacing Tolerance, units of days.
For Phase Dependent pointings the observer must specify the Phase, the Phase Tolerance, as a % of the Phase, and the Binary Period and the Epoch Of Zero Phase (as close as possible to the start of the AO phase). Note that due to the uncertainty on the satellite position along the orbit on time scales longer than a month (basically due to atmospheric drag) phase dependent observations cannot be planned if the duration of the phase window lasts less than the earth occultation time of the source. It is intended that the exposure will be centered at the requested Phase. For simultaneous and phase dependant observations please note that the best accurancy of the scheduling is of the order of one day.
For Periodically Repeated series of observations, in units of DD HH:MM:SS.ss
For Periodically Repeated series of observations, as a percentage of ``Period''.
For Aperiodically Repeated series of observations, in units of days.
Time Spacing Tolerance
For Periodically Repeated series of observations, as a percentage of ``Time Spacing''.
Phase For Phase Dependent observations, range 0.0-1.0.
For Phase Dependent observations, as a percentage of ``Phase''.
For Phase Dependent observations, binary period in units of DD HH:MM:SS.ss.
Epoch of Zero Phase
For Phase Dependent observations, epoch of zero phase, in units of DD-MMM-YYYY HH:MM:SS.ss.
For a time constrained pointing it is possible to specify up to 5 different alternative time windows during which the pointing could be performed. Keep the time windows as wide as possible to allow some flexibility in the scheduling.
Number Of Pointings
Requested number of pointings for a given target in the Periodic or Aperiodic modes.
Tape recorder speed. D = default, corresponding to a bit rate available to instruments of 60 Kbit/s. In this case data over the entire orbit will be available. If tape speed = H, telemetry available to instruments is 95 Kbit/s, allowing only 55 min of continuous data stream per orbit (see section 4.9 of the handbook). Selection of high TRU speed can be considered for bright sources (brighter than about 0.3 Crab), but the use of this option will be limited to few cases to avoid stressing the TRU: the proponent is invited to look for alternative solutions. For sources fainter than this value, TRU speed=D gives enough telemetry to allocate all the instruments in the default direct modes.
If NFI has been selected in the Instrument Class field of the Pointing Information Form select one of the following:
LECS, MECS, HPGSPC, PDS
and fill a separate Instrument Information Form for each of the NFI's necessary for the observation. For example, to use all the NFI, fill 4 forms, one for LECS, one for MECS (note that MECS identify the complete set of 2 units), one for HPGSPC and one for PDS. It will be possible to change the instrument configuration during the same pointing by giving the details in the Additional Information form. Note that the HPGSPC will normally be operated only for targets brighter than approximately 10 mCrabs.
If the Instrument Class field = WFC, then WFC must be selected.
Duration of the observation (exposure time) with the selected instrument in ksec. Note that the LECS efficiency compared to MECS is on average 40% and that exposure times are based on MECS. To avoid confusion calculate the MECS exposure and use this number for all NFI instruments.
For PDS and HPGSPC only. Select a numerical value as explained in the SOH sect. 4 (currently the only value allowed for HPGSPC is 3; 1 to 22 for PDS)
Collimator Law Stay Time
For PDS and HPGSPC only. Dwelling time of the collimator on and off-axis (SOH sect.4 on HPGSPC and PDS). Default=96 sec for PDS only. Default (and currently the only allowed value)=2047 for HPGSPC
The source expected count rate, which can be estimated by using the flux to count rate conversion factors is Sect. 4.10 of SOH, or using PIMMS, see Sect. 3.1 above. For sources brighter than about 0.3 Crab (or erg cm s, 2-10 keV) the investigator should also compute the telemetry bit rate, in order to select the appropriate Data Collecting Mode.
Data Collecting Mode
Data Collecting Mode, used for all instruments. More details on supported modes are given in Sect. 4 of SOH. Direct modes are already recommended in the proposal form template and are the default choice. For sources brighter than 0.3 Crab see sect. 4.9 of SOH.
Spectrum Accumulation Time
To be specified for HPGSPC and PDS only, in case an indirect mode is chosen. See sect. 4 of SOH on HPGSPC and PDS.
TP Bin Accumulation Time
To be specified for HPGSPC and PDS only, in case an indirect mode is chosen. See sect. 4 of SOH on HPGSPC and PDS.
MECS active Units
For MECS only.
Identify the number of MECS active units. Accepted value: 2
This field (text with a maximum length 1 A4 page) can contain any additional information the user wishes to provide to specify constraints or requirements not included in the standard forms. Primary purpose of this field is:
The proponent can add details, not specified in the pointing form that can simplify the scheduling process.
The proponent should first give the identification criteria to classify an event as a specific TOO (e.g. flux thresholds, rise time, spectral shape, etc). This information should allow the BeppoSAX team to take appropriate and quick decisions about the follow up observation of the target.
The proponent must also give the minimum acquisition time to the target to comply with the scientific requirements. It should be considered that operational constraints impose a minimum of about 30 hours to acquire the target. Then the follow up observing plan must be specified, giving the observing window times in days after the discovery of the event and the pointing duration (in ksec), as follows:
1st observation window start= window end= pointing duration= 2nd observation window start= window end= pointing duration= ....
The proponent must also fill in the Instrument configuration and Data Collection Modes (DCM) on the basis of the expected count rate. This will allow to plan the TOO observation. The observer can provide updated values of DCM in the TOO request.
The scientific motivations leading to the proposed observational strategy must be provided in the Scientific Justification form, in the "Observational Strategy" section. On the basis of this information the TAC will know the validation criteria and follow-up plan and will establish a ``protocol" specifying procedures to be followed at the Scientific Operation Centre (SOC) and SDC for implementing the TOO observing plan.
Maximum 4 pages including feasibility and figures. The scientific justification is to be structured as follows:
Illustrate the scientific problem to be addressed, with relevant scientific background and references to previous works. Show how the proposed observations are expected to address the issue and improve on previous results.
In case of complex programs illustrate and justify the observational strategy to be followed to achieve the proposed goal. Typical information is: number and duration of observations per source and list of priorities.
In case of TOO give and justify the identification criteria (e.g. flux thresholds, rise time, spectral shape,..) and the follow up observation plan.
Demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed objective within the required time. List clearly assumptions about source characteristics (flux, spectrum,..). Estimates of count rates are required as a minimum (Flux to count rate conversion factors are given in instrument sections of SOH; a WWW interface to PIMMS is available at BeppoSAX SDC WWW pages; The use of XSPEC or other equivalent simulation software is encouraged, see Sect. 3.1 for details).
The Proposal Form can be compiled using any text editor or using a tool made available by the BeppoSAX SDC at the following URL:
A help page for the usage of this tool is located at the following URL:
The template (ASCII file) for e-mail submission can also be retrieved from the BeppoSAX SDC anonymous ftp:
The template can also be obtained by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following text:
get saxpi proposal_nfi.txt
get saxpi proposal_wfc.txt
get saxpi proposal_nfi_notimeconstraint.txt
In this section we give the data format of each field. Optional fields are in brackets or are marked as ``optional".
|Keyword||Format, Value, Range, Units||Notes|
|PI Name||Alphanumeric max 32 char.||First, Middle, Last|
|Laboratory Institute||Alphanumeric max 32 char.|
|Country||Alphanumeric max 24 char.|
|Zonal Code||Alphanumeric 6 char.|
|City||Alphanumeric 24 char.|
|Street||Alphanumeric 24 char.|
|Street Number||Alphanumeric 5 char.||optional|
|Telephone Number||Alphanumeric 20 char.|
|Telefax Number||Alphanumeric 20 char.||optional|
|Email Address||Alphanumeric 50 char.|
|COI1 Name||Alphanumeric 32 char.||essential if TOO proposal|
|COI1 Laboratory Institute||Alphanumeric 32 char.||essential if TOO proposal|
|COI1 Country||Alphanumeric 24 char.||essential if TOO proposal|
|COI1 Telephone Number||Alphanumeric 20 char.||essential if TOO proposal|
|COI1 Telefax Number||Alphanumeric 20 char.||optional|
|COI1 Email Address||Alphanumeric 50 char.||essential if TOO proposal|
|COI2 Name||Alphanumeric 32 char.||for each Co.I.|
|COI2 Laboratory Institute||Alphanumeric 32 char.||for each Co.I.|
|COI2 Country||Alphanumeric 24 char.||for each Co.I.|
|Announcement Of Opportunity||Alphanumeric 3 char.||default AO5|
|Observation Program||Alphanumeric max 3 char.||GOP|
|Proposal Title||Alphanumeric max 48 char.|
|Proposal Abstract||Alphanumeric max 600 char.|
|Proposal Subject Category||Numeric 1 char.|
|1 = Stars|
|2 = Compact Galactic Sources|
|3 = SNR|
|4 = Normal galaxies|
|5 = AGN|
|6 = Cluster of Galaxies|
|7 = Other|
|Keyword||Format, Value, Range, Units,||Notes|
|Proposal Type||Alphanumeric 8 char.||STANDARD or TOO|
|Total Observing Time||Integer max 4 digits||units=ksec|
|Type Of Media||Alphanumeric 7 char.||DAT|
|Institution Authority||Alphanumeric 32 char.|
|Endorsing the Proposal|
|Keyword||Format, Value, Range, Units,||Notes|
|Target Name||Alphanumeric max 16 char.||optional for TOO proposals|
|Pointing Alpha Coordinate||Alphanumeric||optional for TOO proposals|
|hh mm ss.s range 0,24||J2000 coordinate|
|Pointing Delta Coordinate||Alphanumeric||optional for TOO proposals|
|+/-dd mm ss range -90,+90||J2000 coordinate|
|Instrument Class||Alphanumeric||NFI, WFC|
|WFC Maximum Pointing||Real Number range 0,15||only if WFC|
|Fully Constrained||specify 1 Time Window|
|Partially Constrained||specify up to 5 Time Windows|
|Special Cases||details in ADDITIONAL_INFO|
|Number Of Pointings||Integer 100|
|Keyword||Format, Value, Range, Units,||Notes|
|Time Window 1 Start||Alphanumeric DD-MMM-YYYY||(HH:MM:SS.ss)|
|Time Window 1 End||Alphanumeric DD-MMM-YYYY||(HH:MM:SS.ss)|
|Time Window 2 Start||Alphanumeric DD-MMM-YYYY||(HH:MM:SS.ss)|
|Time Window 2 End||Alphanumeric DD-MMM-YYYY||(HH:MM:SS.ss)|
|Time Window 3 Start||Alphanumeric DD-MMM-YYYY||(HH:MM:SS.ss)|
|Time Window 3 End||Alphanumeric DD-MMM-YYYY||(HH:MM:SS.ss)|
|Time Window 4 Start||Alphanumeric DD-MMM-YYYY||(HH:MM:SS.ss)|
|Time Window 4 End||Alphanumeric DD-MMM-YYYY||(HH:MM:SS.ss)|
|Time Window 5 Start||Alphanumeric DD-MMM-YYYY||(HH:MM:SS.ss)|
|Time Window 5 End||Alphanumeric DD-MMM-YYYY||(HH:MM:SS.ss)|
|For Periodically Repeated|
|Period||Alphanumeric DD (HH:MM:SS.ss)|
|Period Tolerance||Real % range ,100|
|For Aperiodically Repeated|
|Time Spacing 1||days (integer)|
|Time Spacing 2||days (integer)|
|Time Spacing 3||days (integer)|
|Time Spacing 4||days (integer)|
|Time Spacing 5||days (integer)|
|Time Spacing 6||days (integer)|
|Time Spacing 7||days (integer)|
|Time Spacing 8||days (integer)|
|Time Spacing 9||days (integer)|
|Time Spacing 10||days (integer)|
|Time Spacing Tolerance||Real % range 0,100|
|For Phase Dependent|
|Phase||Real range 0.0,1.0|
|Phase Tolerance||Real % range 0,100|
|Binary Period||Alphanumeric DD (HH:MM:SS.ss)|
|Epoch Of Zero Phase||Alphanumeric DD-MMM-YYY||HH:MM:SS.ss|
|TRU Speed||Alphanumeric 1 char.||Default is D,|
|other possibility is H|
|Keyword||Format, Value, Range, Units,||Notes|
|Instrument Code||Alphanumeric max 6 char.|
|LECS||if Instrument Class = NFI|
|MECS||if Instrument Class = NFI|
|PDS||if Instrument Class = NFI|
|HPGSPC||if Instrument Class = NFI|
|WFC||if Instrument Class = WFC|
|Observation Duration||Integer max 5 digits||units=ksec|
|Data Collecting Mode||Alphanumeric max 25 char.||see SOH|
|Collimator Law||Integer max 2 digits||if HPGSPC or PDS|
|fixed to 3 for HPGSPC|
|range 1-22 for PDS|
|Collimator Law Stay Time||Integer max 4 digits||if PDS|
|range 50, 2047, in seconds|
|Count Rate||Real, range 0||optional|
|Spectrum Accumulation Time||Real||if HPGSPC or PDS the value|
|range depends on the chosen|
|TP Bin Accumulation Time||Real||if HPGSPC or PDS the value|
|range depends on the chosen|
|MECS Active Units||Real, 2 (fixed value)||if MECS|
Submission of the proposal via e-mail is mandatory.
For AO5 the submission of the Scientific Justification in postscript (.pdf, .doc or .sdw) format (deposited in the SDC ftp server as described below, before the dead-line) is mandatory.
The proposal forms (without the Scientific Justification) must be sent via e-mail to:
to arrive no later than May 21, 2001 .
The Scientific Justification in postscript (.pdf, .doc or .sdw) format must be deposited at the BeppoSAX SDC ftp server as follows:
ftp sax.sdc.asi.it Name : ftpao5 Password: SAXAO5 ftp> mkdir dirname
(Create a directory with name constructed using the first five letters of the PI's last name followed by _ and a number to distinguish between different proposals sent by the same PI; e.g. the first proposal sent by a PI named Einstein should be stored into a directory named einst_1)
ftp> cd dirname ftp> bin ftp> put your_file.ps.gz (or your_file.[ps.Z/pdf/doc/sdw]) ftp> quit
to arrive no later than May 21, 2001.
Proposals will be reviewed and selected on the basis of their scientific merit, their feasibility and their relevance to the BeppoSAX mission by a peer committee, the Time Allocation Committee (TAC).
The results of the selection of AO5 proposals will be communicated before the end of June 2001.
Investigators whose proposals are selected will have proprietary use of their data for 1 year after receipt of the data.
The following is a very general BeppoSAX AO5 proposal form. It contains all accepted keywords. Note however that:
SAX AO5 PROPOSAL FORM BEGIN GENERAL_INFO PI Name = Laboratory Institute = Country = Zonal Code = City = Street = Street Number = Telephone Number = Telefax Number = Email Address = BEGIN ADDITIONAL_INFO COI1 Name = COI1 Laboratory Institute = COI1 Country = COI1 Telephone Number = COI1 Telefax Number = COI1 Email Address = COI2 Name = COI2 Laboratory Institute = COI2 Country = COI3 Name = COI3 Laboratory Institute = COI3 Country = COI4 Name = COI4 Laboratory Institute = COI4 Country = COI5 Name = COI5 Laboratory Institute = COI5 Country = COI6 Name = COI6 Laboratory Institute = COI6 Country = COI7 Name = COI7 Laboratory Institute = COI7 Country = COI8 Name = COI8 Laboratory Institute = COI8 Country = COI9 Name = COI9 Laboratory Institute = COI9 Country = COI10 Name = COI10 Laboratory Institute = COI10 Country = END ADDITIONAL_INFO Announcement Of Opportunity Reference = AO5 Observation Programme Reference = GOP Proposal Title = Proposal Abstract = Begin Write here your abstract up to 600 characters..... .... end_text Proposal Subject Category = Proposal Type = Total Observing Time = Proposal Date = Type Of Media = Media Density = Institution Authority Endorsing the Proposal = END GENERAL_INFO BEGIN POINTING_INFO Target Name = Pointing Alpha Coordinate = Pointing Delta Coordinate = Instrument Class = Time Constraint = Time Window 1 Start = Time Window 1 End = Time Window 2 Start = Time Window 2 End = Time Window 3 Start = Time Window 3 End = Time Window 4 Start = Time Window 4 End = Time Window 5 Start = Time Window 5 End = Number Of Pointings = Period = Period Tolerance = Time Spacing 1 = Time Spacing 2 = Time Spacing 3 = Time Spacing 4 = Time Spacing 5 = Time Spacing 6 = Time Spacing 7 = Time Spacing 8 = Time Spacing 9 = Time Spacing 10 = Time Spacing Tolerance = Phase = Phase Tolerance = Binary Period = Epoch Of Zero Phase = WFC Maximum Pointing Offset = TRU Speed = D BEGIN ADDITIONAL_INFO END ADDITIONAL_INFO END POINTING_INFO BEGIN INSTRUMENT_INFO Instrument Code = LECS Observation Duration = Count Rate = Data Collecting Mode = LE_DIR_FTP END INSTRUMENT_INFO BEGIN INSTRUMENT_INFO Instrument Code = MECS Observation Duration = Data Collecting Mode = ME_DIR2 Count Rate = MECS Active Units = 2 END INSTRUMENT_INFO BEGIN INSTRUMENT_INFO Instrument Code = HPGSPC Observation Duration = Data Collecting Mode = HP_DSC1 Collimator Law = 3 Collimator Law Stay Time = 2047 Count Rate = Spectrum Accumulation Time = TP Bin Accumulation Time = END INSTRUMENT_INFO BEGIN INSTRUMENT_INFO Instrument Code = PDS Observation Duration = Data Collecting Mode = PD_DIR3 Collimator Law = 1 Collimator Law Stay Time = 96 Count Rate = Spectrum Accumulation Time = TP Bin Accumulation Time = END INSTRUMENT_INFO ----------------- CUT if proposal is for NFI observations ---------- BEGIN INSTRUMENT_INFO Instrument Code = WFC Observation Duration = Data Collecting Mode = WFC_NOR Count Rate = END INSTRUMENT_INFO ----------------- CUT if proposal is for NFI observations ---------- SAX AO5 PROPOSAL FORM END
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