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XMM-Newton Guest Observer Facility


Please note that final reports for XMM-Newton GO grants are required upon completion of the grant award period. Additional instructions for submitting final grant recipient reports, as well as a required form, can be found here.

AO-21 Call For Science Proposals


17 August 2021 Release of AO-21 Announcement
08 October 2021, 12:00 UT Deadline for AO-21 Submissions
Late December 2021 Results of AO-21 Announced
10 January 2022 Start of SOC phase II proposal submission (entering of observation details through the SOC)
04 February 2022 Closure of SOC phase II
May-June 2022 Notification to eligible US GOs of possible funding opportunity through the GOF
May 2022 - April 2123 Period of AO-21 Observations

AO-21 Science Proposal Information:

SOC AO-21 home page

Text of SOC XMM-NEWTON NEWS #245 (GOF Status Report #389) - AO-21 Announcement ASCII
NASA AO-21 "Dear Colleague" Letter from Dr. S. Immler ASCII
ESA Policies and Procedures for the XMM-Newton AO-21 HTML
XMM-Newton Observation Lokator
(check if a target has been observed or is awaiting observation by XMM-Newton)
SOC Online
XMM-Newton Visibility Checker Tool SOC Online
XMM-Newton Users' Handbook (UHB) SOC Online, PDF (15 Mb) GOF-PDF
XMM-Newton SOC RPS Help SOC Online
XMM-Newton Specific RPS Help SOC Online
XMM-Newton SOC Latex Template (highly recommended, and note that all sections included in the template must fit within the page limitations) TEX
XMM-Newton Proposers' Generic Help SOC Online, or the GSFC GOF:

AO Science Proposal Submission

Proposals must be electronically submitted directly to the XMM-Newton SOC through the SOC's RPS facility. NOTE: This is different from the NASA/GSFC XMM-Newton RPS system which is only used for NASA XMM-Newton budget proposals. Successful PIs will also need to use the SOC's RPS to submit observation details for their accepted targets at a later date (Phase II proposal submissions).

Please Note

The XMM-Newton SOC highly recommends the use of:

  • the on-line documentation because it contains updated links to references in the text
  • the Scientific Justification LaTeX Template

For GOs with dual appointments between US and foreign institutions and foreign GOs moving to the US:

  • if you intend to apply for support through the GOF use your US affiliation, and your US e-mail address, for your science proposal
  • if this is not possible (e.g., your appointment to a US institution has not started) notify the GOF at as soon as possible but no later than 31 March 2022 with your details.

Using the LaTeX Template File

Use of the provided LaTeX template to write the scientific justification is highly recommended. Proposers may submit their justifications either in one or two column format. Instructions to activate a specific column format are provided in the LaTeX template.

Proposal justifications MUST be submitted as one file in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF file can be generated from the LaTeX template in one of two ways:
  1. Use a LaTeX installation which allows you to create PDF files directly from the .tex file (e.g. pdflatex). Some installations of pdflatex do not allow you to include postscript figures. In this case you might use method 2.

  2. Use ps2pdf (preferably version 1.4) to convert a postscript file to PDF:
    > latex file.tex
    > dvips -Ppdf -G0 -o file.dvi
    > ps2pdf file.pdf
Please take note of the following points regarding the use of the LaTeX template provided:
  • Users must make sure that generated pdf output from the template is complete both when displayed with a viewer (acroread) and when printed on paper. LaTeX installations vary greatly and therefore it might not be possible to get all proposals to come out correctly with a single text page layout. In some cases the user will have to adjust the \topmargin=-7mm command in the template to vertically center the text.
  • The page limit of 4 pages (5 pages only for justifications of "Large Programs" and "Very Large Programs", 8 for "Heritage Programs" and 2 for "Fulfil" Programs) includes everything of your to-be-submitted proposal justification. Sections 4 and 5 (on previous work and publications) have to be included within the page limit, too.
  • You are free to include color images in your proposal justification. Proposals are distributed to OTAC in electronic form. However, the scientific content of the images should still remain extractable when displayed or printed in black and white only.
  • The proposal justification can be created both in single and in two-column format. Instructions on how to switch between these two layouts are given in the LaTeX template.
  • The font size (11pt) is mandatory.

All questions regarding XMM-Newton proposal submission should be directed to the XMM-Newton Helpdesk.

AO Science Proposal and Planning Tools

SciSim - SciSim is the XMM-Newton project observation modeling tool. It incorporates all instrument calibration information to the greatest extent possible. This includes a detailed ray tracing with the mirror reflectivities and geometric and obscuration effects. It also includes details of the detectors and their responses and artifacts. SciSim should be used for the most accurate analysis of XMM-Newton data, particularly for complex sources and confused regions. (SOC link)

FLIX - FLIX scans the public data products used to make the 2XMMi catalogue. For positions of interest it estimates the likely upper-limit to detectable flux. It also estimates the actual flux at that position from the counts in a small circle and the estimated background level. FLIX produces a FITS binary table of all results, and HTML output for selected energy bands.

PIMMS and WebPIMMS - The WebPIMMS package, which is already familiar to many X-ray astronomers has been updated to include the X-ray instruments of XMM-Newton observatory. It provides a convenient method for calculating the expected coarse count rates and pile-up effects for sources with a variety of spectra. WebPIMMS calculates the count rates directly from input spectral parameters as well as by converting from source count rates observed by other X-ray observatories (with spectral form and absorption also as inputs). PIMMS and WebPIMMS have been updated to use in-orbit calibration results consistent with the current SAS V16

Xspec - Xspec is a spectral analysis package for X-ray astronomy. Besides fitting observed and model spectra (e.g., SciSim or QuickSim output), it can also be used to simulate spectra.

QuickSim (manual and code) - QuickSim was written to provide a faster (than SciSim) but not so complete modeling of XMM-Newton EPIC observations. It should be considered a PIMMS for imaging. QuickSim provides reasonably accurate modeling of the energy and angular responses (PSFs) of the EPIC instruments to a variety of spectral models and angular distributions. Temporal sinusoidal variations can be incorporated in simulations as well. QuickSim also models the intrinsic detector background and the cosmic diffuse background (although at higher energies this is problematic as much of the background will be resolved out). The output of QuickSim can be used by Xselect, Ximage, and various other data analysis packages. The linux code has been updated since AO-4 (for solaris machines please use the AO-4 code and data files), but not for other platforms (it is a work in progress). The effective area, redistribution matrix, and thermal emission spectral files have been updated.

WebSpec - WebSpec provides spectral simulations of XMM-Newton EPIC (and other X-ray observatory instruments) observations. WebSpec is based on the Xspec package.

Response Files - Information on canned intrument response files can be found at the SOC Calibration Area. EPIC RMFs are available from the SOC and GOF (MOS and PN). The GOF MOS files are in the subdirectories 15eV and 5eV , according to their energy resolution. Information on the use of the files can be found at the SOC. Response files are available for the RGS from the SOC and GOF. Response files are available for the OM from the SOC and GOF. Also, the RMFs and ARFs used for PIMMS and WebPIMMS are available. These RMFs and ARFs were calculated for EPIC full frame mode observations with an extraction radius of 10 arc minutes.

Browse - Browse provides access to the XMM-Newton target and observation database.

Target Visibility Tools - XMM-Newton Target Visibility Checker checks when target directions are available for XMM-Newton pointings (SOC link). There is also a HEASARC Viewing Tool.

Coordinate Conversion - The HEASARC tool Coco provides a simple tool for converting between coordinate systems.

X-ray Background Intensities - The HEASARC X-ray Background Tool provides ROSAT All-Sky Survey cosmic X-ray background intensities.

NH - The HEASARC tool nH provides neutral hydrogen column densities.

Help Desks

The XMM-Newton Helpdesk at the SOC provides a web-based tool to send technical queries to mission specialists and programmers, and also search the Helpdesk archive.

Mail the XMM-Newton US GOF directly at for all other XMM-Newton questions.

Download the Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Reader.

If you have any questions concerning XMM-Newton send e-mail to