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RXTE AO-3 deadline; Online proposal preparation resources

         New Online Resources for Preparing RXTE AO-3 Proposals

Only one month remains until your RXTE AO-3 proposals are due!

                     ** 5TH SEPTEMBER, 1997 **

For AO-3, preparing your RXTE proposals will be even easier, as all
the information and utilities you'll need are now available on the Web! 
Nothing to download, nothing to compile, unless you really want to.

   NRA Information
*  W3PIMMS        < Upgraded calibration info
*  WEBSPEC        < * NEW spectral simulation utility
*  RECOMMD        < * NEW to the Web
*  RPS            < Upgraded for AO-3 proposal submission

These are all available by going to the RXTE GOF homepage at


and clicking on the 'Proposal and Planning Tools' icon. Here we
describe briefly the steps you might use to prepare an RXTE proposal:

1) NRA Information
The full text of the Announcement and Appendices A-D for NRA 97-OSS-09
are available online here, along with some supplemental information.
The Announcement and Appendices are also available from NASA HQ at
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/oss, under the "Research Opportunities"

Use ARGUS to see what observations have already been performed, or
take a look at the accepted AO-1 and AO-2 programs under homepage -->
"Timelines & Mission Info" -> "RXTE AO-1/AO-2 Approved Observing Program".

A tool you may be familiar with from previous AOs or other missions,
W3PIMMS allows you to transform count rates from other X-ray
detectors, or fluxes, into RXTE PCA and HEXTE count rates for simple
source models. W3PIMMS will also provide you with the source count
rates in the bands required on the proposal form and by the RECOMMD
PCA/EDS configuration assistant (see below). For RXTE AO-3 the
response matrices in W3PIMMS have been updated.

For more complex spectral models, you may want to try WEBSPEC. This is
a new WWW interface for the X-ray spectral fitting package, XSPEC,
which enables you to simulate spectral data for RXTE (and ASCA) by
specifying models and parameters on a form. WEBSPEC will create a
simulated spectrum for the PCA or HEXTE, with or without including
instrumental or cosmic background. You can then download a PostScript
file or the raw data from this spectrum back to your home machine. 
WEBSPEC also provides you with the source count rates in the
various bands required by RECOMMD and RPS. Give it a try.

Now available on the Web for the first time, RECOMMD will take your
count rate estimates and make informed suggestions about which PCA/EDS
configurations you may wish to choose for your observation. 

If you're planning a time critical or multiwavelength campaign, you
should use VIEWING to find out at what times of year RXTE can observe
your source.

7) RPS
RPS has been upgraded for AO-3. New features include: 

  (i) automatic configuration checking during the verification phase;
  (ii) calculation of telemetry rates, and insertion of these rates
into your forms; 
  (iii) a Target Summary sheet, again automatically generated; 
  (iv) improvements in the underlying processor and CGI scripts --
transparent to the user, but much more efficient and therefore

These upgrades should add to your ease of use of RPS, however note
that due to the script changes, forms you may have saved from AO-2 and
AO-1 cannot be reloaded for AO-3.

Any questions? Send Email to:

              ** xtehelp@athena.gsfc.nasa.gov **

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