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[XTEnews]: RXTE Cycle 13

Ilana Harrus, PhD
RXTE Program Scientist
Astrophysics Division, NASA HQ
202.358.1250 (voice)

Dear Colleague,

This letter is to call your attention to the opportunity to propose
investigations requesting observing time on NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing
Explorer (RXTE). NASA headquarters has approved continued operations
of RXTE through September 2009, and we quickly need to produce an
observing plan for this period. In light of the 2008 Senior Review
recommendation of severely reduced funding for RXTE during Fiscal Year
2009, and in consultation with the RXTE Users' Group, we are issuing
the present scaled-down call for observing proposals.

Public Data

In the upcoming observing period ("Cycle 13"), the data from ALL new
observations, with the exception of uncompleted peer-reviewed Cycle 12
observations, will be immediately PUBLIC. For Cycle 13 two categories
of observing programs, the "Core" and "Open-Time" programs have been
defined. Only Open-Time programs will require proposal submission. The
Open-Time program solicits proposals for the time frame from March
through September 2009, however, we will likely select more observing
time than can be done through September 30, 2009, so that we can
schedule more efficiently and will have targets available if RXTE
operations are extended beyond that time. We emphasize that NO funding
to support guest investigations is available for Cycle 13.

Core Program

The Core Program was proposed to the 2008 Senior Review, and is
comprised of observations uniquely suited to RXTE and in which RXTE
has taken a lead role in the past. In general, observations of the
type included within the Core Program are widely recognized to be of
the highest priority for the mission, having passed a peer review in
many successive observing cycles. A description and list of Core
Program observations can be found here,


Please note that all of the data from the Core Program will be made
public immediately upon processing.  Proposal submission is NOT
required for observations in this category.

Open-Time Program

The purpose of the Open-Time Program is to make RXTE observing time
available to the international science community for science
investigations not included in the Core Program. To request such
observations, investigators must submit a short proposal and
associated target forms as described below. 

In order to maintain an innovative science program, this announcement
solicits observing proposals for new science investigations or
extensions of existing programs not covered by the Core Program.  Such
proposals may also involve coordinated RXTE observations of targets
with other space-based and/or ground-based facilities. We emphasize
that Open-Time proposals should NOT duplicate observations in the Core


Proposers may submit requests for the observing period covering March
1 through September 30, 2009. While approaches for extending RXTE
science operations beyond this period are currently being explored,
the outcome of these investigations is still uncertain.  Proposals for
Open-Time observations must be submitted via HEASARC's Remote Proposal
System (ARK/RPS),


The proposal must consist of the following,

* Cover Page - containing basic information about the proposal 
* General Page - containing co-investigator information 
* Target Forms - containing target request information and instrument 
* Scientific Justification and Feasibility

Proposals should establish the science case briefly, and describe how
RXTE's unique capabilities will be exploited.  Proposals must be
submitted electronically using ARK/RPS and received by Thursday,
October 30, 2009 (17:00 EST).

The scientific justification and feasibility are limited to ONE page,
to be uploaded as a pdf file. Proposals must use a 10pt font or

Evaluation Criteria

Cycle 13 proposals will be evaluated using the following criteria:

    * The suitability of using the RXTE observatory and data products for 
      the proposed investigation;
    * The degree to which the investigation uses RXTE's unique capabilities;
    * The feasibility of accomplishing the objectives of the investigation 
      within the time, telemetry, and scheduling constraints;
    * The feasibility of the proposed analysis techniques; and 
    * The relevance to NASA's scientific objectives

Here, relevance to NASA's objectives includes the consideration of the
potential contribution to NASA's mission as expressed in its most
recent NASA strategy documents and to the objectives and goals of the
RXTE mission.

Review and Selection

A peer review committee will be convened to evaluate proposals for
Open-Time investigations, including recommendations concerning the
approved observing targets and times.

Prospective proposers can get more information from the RXTE Guest
Observer Facility's Web page:


 Any additional questions should be addressed to the XTE Help Desk 
 via their feedback form:


Ilana Harrus
Program Scientist, RXTE