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XMM-Newton Guest Observer Facility

XMM-Newton Users' Group Meeting #6

April 2007 @ GSFC, Greenbelt, MD

1. Introductory remarks
2. Status summary from US Project Scientist
3. GOF summary of support work accomplished
4. Statement from GOF scientists
6. Budget Review


XMM-Newton Users' Group Committee:
Richard Griffiths (Chair)
Alex Brown
You-Hua Chu
Megan Donahue
Michael Eracleous
Paul Plucinsky

XMM-Newton Mission Scientists:
Richard Griffiths (chair)
Richard Mushotzky

XMM-Newton GOF:
Steve Snowden
Randall Smith
Mike Arida
Sandy Barnes
Brendan Perry
Wilt Sanders(NASA/HQ) 
Lynn Cominsky (Sonoma, via telecon)


NASA/HQ - Update - Wilt Sanders

Mission Status - Richard Mushotzky

GOF - Update - Steve Snowden

SAS Update - Brendan Perry

RGS & Publications - Randall Smith

OM - Rick Shafer

EPIC - Steve Snowden

U.S. Archive Mirror - Michael Arida

E&PO - Lynn Cominsky

Chandra/XMM X-calibration - Paul Plucinsky

Meeting Minutes

Summary of US Users Group Meeting for XMM-Newton, held April 30, 2007

In Attendance: Alex Brown, Megan Donahue, You-Hua Chu, Mike Eracleous,
 Richard Griffiths, Paul Plucinsky

ex-officio: Wilt Sanders, Steve Snowden, Mike Arida, Richard Mushotzky,
 Randall Smith, Jean Cottam, Brendan Perry, Rick Shafer, Lynn Cominsky
 (part-time, via telecon)


Welcome - Snowden

Wilt Sanders reviewed the recent changes in the organizational
structure at NASA HQ.  Information on the HQ changes are described in
the on-line HEAD Newsletter, available at:

where readers will also find a section on XMM-Newton which summarises
all recent and planned updates


Mission status - R. Mushotzky

Richard M. gave a current overview of the Mission. The satellite is
healthy, the instruments are working well, and the scientific
productivity is extremely high. A/B targets with US PIs account for
36% of the total allocated time.  Current ESA plans include extension
of XMM operations until 2010, and discussions are underway on further
extensions. The upcoming workshop (June 4 - 6 2007) at Vilspa near
Madrid will be important in the definition of future science programs.

 - Concerns about the future operations of XMM, or ideas on future
 science programs should be forwarded to Mushotzky or Griffiths by
 June 1.

 - For a summary of current plans for the projected operations of
 XMM-Newton beyond 2010, see:

  and, in particular, the presentations and resolution from them
  meeting of Jan 9 2007.

Richard M. also presented results on cross-calibration of cluster
temperatures between XMM and Chandra which shows a disagreement at
temperatures above 6 keV. It appears that the Chandra temperatures are
hotter than the XMM temperatures.

The next XMM point source catalog (2XMM) will be released in mid-July.


GOF activities in direct support of users - Snowden

Steve encouraged the use of HERA because it will be increasingly more
difficult to support SAS on newer operating systems over the coming
years. There have been about 12 XMM-only users per quarter. The GOF
can entertain enhancement requests but all new requests require
programmer support.

ACTION: Snowden to decide with the Europeans on a mechanism to notify
        GOs that their data have been reprocessed.


Status and Future of SAS - Perry

SAS 7.1 is expected to be released in July 2007, but there will be no
NAGLIB F95 until Spring 2008.  No release of NAGLIB for the Mac Intel
architecture is anticipated for this year.  This prevents any version
of SAS from working on the new Mac's.  But NAG 5.1 is scheduled to
work on Intel Mac and Linux boxes when it is released in March 2008.
The GOF had spent significant money and time producing a version of
SAS for the Mac.
-- feedback from the community is needed on the usefulness of this.


XMM Publication Tracking - Smith

ACTION on Wilt Sanders: what are the pieces of information which the
       XMM community should provide to let HQ judge the value of the
       mission at the time of the next Senior Review?


Status of the RGS - Smith

New RGS CCFs will be available in June.  These will take account of
the C contamination layer which has been building up over the course
of the mission.

  The RGS data analysis package Profit 2.0 will be released imminently,
and has some overlapping features with
the RGS browser interface BiRD, released by ESAC.
There is also a version of Profit for Windows.


Status of the OM - Shafer

OMCat has 1e6 3sig sources and the catalog is now in MAST.  A paper
will be published as Kuntz et al. 2007


Status of the EPIC and Background Modeling - Snowden

The MOS background modeling SW has been public for some time and is
being used.  The pn version of the background modeling SW is currently
being developed.


Status of User Support and Archive - Arida

There are no current problems or issues with the archive; all trends
regarding growth are linear in time and therefore simpler to predict.


E&PO - Cominsky (via telecon)

Lynn C. discussed their efforts to train teachers and to provide them
with data products they can use. There are thousands of users of the
E/PO products for XMM.


Budget considerations - Snowden / Griffiths

initial allocation is ~$6.0 million
   $4.4 for US PI proposals
   $1.4 for US Co-I proposals

The USG made the strong recommendation that PIs should be informed of
the fair-share estimate on their proposal before submitting a Budget

The USG would like to receive a summary of which targets from the
proposal had actually been accepted when deciding on the budgets.
Either the GOF needs to provide the information to the Users Committee
or the GOs need to be instructed to include a summary of their
accepted targets at the beginning of their Budget proposal

ACTION: Snowden to adopt one of the two proposed solutions above for
        next year's review.

The USG recommends that the XMM GOF and HQ return budgets to those
people who submitted a proposal which had unallowable items (such as
travel to the USA and salary requests for non-US Co-Is)
 and insist that they resubmit the budget without the unallowed items. 

The Users Committee would be satisfied with a budget which
re-allocated funds to other items and which stayed under the
fair-share estimate.

ACTION: Snowden to send back the budgets from this year which had 
        unallowable items (Action completed).
The USG requests that the XMM GOF insist that the GOs include all
co-Is on the budget forms, including co-Is at foreign institutions.
 Without this information, it is difficult or
impossible to determine in which institution the co-Is are located, 
or the amount of effort supported by the foreign institutes. 

ACTION: Snowden to modify the instructions for next year to explicitly
        state that all co-Is must be listed with the correct affiliation
        and address.

ACTION on Snowden/Sanders: GO's should be reminded that the cap on
       costs related to supporting ground-based observations are limited
       to 10% of the total budget.

GO's should note that the USG examines each budget proposal for the 
reasonableness of costs, taking into account the complexity of 
the data analysis. For each proposal, a consensus is reached on the 
total reasonable cost.


USG closed session on GOF Budget allocations - Griffiths

The USG recommends that the GOF not allocate any resources for getting
SAS to work on the Mac Intel platform until there is a compiler that
works with the NAGLIB.

The USG recommends that the EPIC-pn background analysis should be
done.  The EPIC-MOS background SW will be released again in May 2007.

In repetition of a recommendation from last year, the USG adamently
requires more information on the synergy between the SW
development in the U.S and Europe.  The Bird and Profit SW packages
are a good example of this: they are not redundant but are closely

The USG determined that the EPO effort is extremely cost-effective on
a budget of 150K and again commended Lynn Cominsky and her team for
their efforts.

Future Events:

June 7,8th - XMM International Users Committee meeting

Senior Review April 2008 GOF will want input in January for the

Return to the U.S. XMM-Newton Users Group page.
If you have any questions concerning XMM-Newton send e-mail to

This file was last modified on Friday, 16-May-2008 11:49:28 EDT
Curator:Michael Arida (ADNET);

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