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ASCA Status report - 5/16/94

                   ASCA Status Report - 16 May 1994
                     ASCA Guest Observer Facility
                            Code 668
                Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics
                     Goddard Space Flight Center
                         Greenbelt, MD, 20771


This report contains the following items:

 1) ASCA Archive

 2) The 3rd ASCA Guest Observer Round: OUT TODAY!

 3) ASCA test data

 4) An Update to GIS Background Files

 5) Information for Solaris v2, OSF 2.0 and VMS users

 6) ASCA Publications 

Please note that a newsletter called ASCANews is published by the ASCA GOF
with more detailed reports on the overall mission status, calibration
updates and other ASCA information. To receive the first (January 1994) issue
and future issues please send e-mail to humphrey@lheavx.gsfc.nasa.gov
including your full mailing address. 

1) ASCA Archive

By agreement between ISAS and NASA the data taken during the performance
verification phase will enter the public domain 18 months after the
observation date. These data will be delivered to the High Energy
Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center, HEASARC, in one month
batches. The first batch will cover PV data taken from April 15 to May 15,
1993 and will be available on November 15 1994. 

The Guest Observer phase of the mission began on 1993, October 18. The
archive clock had not been started on data delivered to US Guest Observers
because the calibrations and analysis software have been in a test phase.
Results from guest observer observations were presented at the Horizon
meeting in Japan last March and several papers are in preparation. This
adequately demonstrates the data analysis capability and calibrations are
now reaching maturity. Thus, for all US and US/J GO data delivered to date,
the archive 1 yr clock begins May 16, 1994. For all future data deliveries
the clock will begin 1 yr from the date of receipt for US and US/J data
(40% of the total). All Japanese GO data will be delivered to the HEASARC
18 months after the data were received by the PI. In all cases we will 
assume 2 weeks for delivery of the data. 

Further details about how and where to access the archival data will be
announced closer to the release date. Any questions regarding the archive
should be addressed to the project scientist, Nick White (white@adhoc.gsfc.

2) The 3rd ASCA Guest Observer Round: OUT TODAY!

The competition for AO2 observing time was very intense, and many excellent
proposals did not make it into the program. If your AO2 proposal was
rejected, do not despair, the NASA Research Announcement for the next year
is released today 1994, May 16 with proposals due 1994, August 15 at NASA
HQ. This 3rd round will cover 1 calendar year of observing time from 1994
Nov 16 to 1995 Nov 15. To receive further information about how to submit
proposals please contact the ASCA Guest Observer Facility via the e-mail
address ascanra@athena.gsfc.nasa.gov. The technical details are much the
same as for previous rounds. An update on the current status of the
instruments, in particular the problem with the increased rate of "hot and
flickering pixels" in the SIS, will be issued in the coming weeks. As for
previous ASCA NRAs both electronic and paper proposal submission is
required. The remote proposal submission software APS3 is now available in
the legacy anonymous ftp area under asca/nra_info/aps3. 

The results of the 2nd round of ASCA observing time (covering 1994, May 15
to November 15) are now available and can be obtained from the anonymous
ftp account on legacy.gsfc.nasa.gov, under the directory asca/timelines. 
Please note that two mistakes were found in the files originally placed 
here --- MRC 0745-19 is not an approved AO-2 target and the PPI for the 
PSR B1055-52 observation (held over from AO-1) is Dr. Shibata, not 
Dr. Ogelman. 

The priority C targets in the current AO2 round that are not observed will
be treated differently depending on their national status. All C proposals
with a PI or PPI from a US institution (US or US/J) will be automatically
carried over and upgraded to B. This is because all these "C" proposals
came out of the US review as priority B, but had to be downgraded in the
merging because the total available time was less than expected. All C
proposals with a PI from a Japanese institution (J or J/US) will be dropped
from the program if they have not been observed in the coming interval.

3) ASCA Test Data 

Guest Observers can now test the analysis software and get a flavor of
whats involved in analysing ASCA data ahead of receiving their data by
using two "real" test data sets. These are 3C273 and a short piece of Crab
SCIENCE or PUBLISHED until they have entered the archive. The data can be
found in the anonymous ftp area on legacy.gsfc.nasa.gov under
asca/data/test. The 3C273 data are used in the examples given in the latest
version of "The abc Guide to ASCA Data Reduction", and by following these
examples you should be able to reproduce the same results. The Crab data,
which is taken with PH mode timing 10 bits, is to allow those interested in
timing studies to verify that their timing analysis is correct. The Crab
period is detected at 33.4172 ms (barycentric corrected). There is a large
deadtime in these Crab data from telemetry saturation which causes a peak
in a Fourier transform at the 128 Hz data sampling frequency. 

For completeness we have included all the 3C273 data files in the anonymous 
ftp, that a Guest Observer will receive on their tape. But to test xselect
you only a subset of these files. The instructions to retrieve the
test 3C273 files are:

ftp legacy.gsfc.nasa.gov
>user@university.edu            ! give your e-mail address
>cd asca/data/test/3c273        ! change to the correct directory
>binary                         ! switch to binary mode
>prompt                         ! turn off/on the ftp prompting 
>mget *S*.fits.Z                ! get the SIS files
>mget *G*.fits.Z                ! get the GIS files
>mget *.mkf.Z                   ! get the mkfilter files       

The Crab data is in asca/data/test/crab. There is only one event file
per GIS instrument.

4) An Update to GIS Background Files

New GIS blank sky background event files are now available in the anonymous
ftp area on legacy.gsfc.nasa.gov in the directory:


Compared to the previous files two more blank fields are added (giving a
total exposure of 346 ks) and the RTI (Rise Time Invariance) column is
filled.  Applying the PHA dependent RTI window to these data ('gisclean'
command in XSELECT) will give an improved background rejection, which is
important for faint and extended sources. The new abc guide in the legacy
anonymous ftp area (under asca/doc) gives a full description of how to use
these files. Any questions regarding the use of these use background files
or any analysis issues should be sent to ascahelp@athena.gsfc.nasa.gov. 

5) Information for Solaris v2, OSF 2.0 and VMS users

While the ASCA software has been designed to be fully portable between
operating systems, a number of bugs have been found in the operating
systems Sun Solaris v2 and Dec Alpha OSF v2.0 which prevent reliable
versions of the software being made available. These system
problems and bugs are being tracked down, but solaris v2 and OSF
v2.0 users may encounter some short term difficulties. Please be patient
while we work with the vendors to flush out all the bugs. Dec have just
released a patch to OSF to fix a major problem, which now allows
ftools/xselect to build. OSF users should contact the ASCA GOF to obtain
this patch before installing the software (this does not apply if you are
using earlier versions of OSF). Solaris v2 users can run the SunOs v4.1 
version of ftools/xselect in binary compatability mode. Please contact
ascahelp@athena.gsfc.nasa.gov for further information. 

VMS users should note that the tape reading script only works under unix.
In the next ftools release (mid-July 1994) there will be a special ASCA
tape reading ftool that supports both VMS and unix platforms (this ftool
will also simplify reading the ASCA data tapes). In the meantime, VMS users
expecting a data tape in the next two months should contact the ASCA GOF
and we will send a VMS backup tape instead. 

6) ASCA Publications 

The first ASCA paper appeared recently in Nature:

 X-ray Identification of the Soft Gamma-ray repeater 1806-20 
                - Murakami et al (1994, Nature, 368, 127)

A special ASCA issue of the Publications of the Astronomical Society of
Japan, PASJ, is due out in June 1994 with the following papers:
 The X-ray Satellite ASCA - Y. Tanaka et al
 Discovery of an Obscured Low Luminosity Active Nucleus in the
  Spiral Galaxy NGC4258 - K. Makishima et al
 X-ray Spectroscopy of SNR E0102-72 with the ASCA Satellite - I. Hayashi et al
 An ASCA Observation of One Orbital Cycle of AR Lac - N.E. White et al
 The Broad Band X-ray Spectrum of SN1978k and Two Other Luminous
  X-ray Sources in the Spiral Galaxy NGC1313 - R. Petre et al
 ASCA Observations of NGC1068 - S. Ueno et al
 ASCA Observations of Three Bright Early-type Galaxies, NGC4472,
  NGC4406, and NGC4636 - H. Awaki et al
 A Non-Thermal X-Ray Spectrum from the Supernova Remnant W50 - S. Yamauchi et al
 Resolving the Cygnus X-3 Iron K Line - S. Kitamoto et al
 The X-ray Emission of 3C273 Observed with ASCA - T. Yaqoob et al
 ASCA Observations of Two High Redshift Quasars: Evidence for
  Complex Continuum Emission - P. Serlemitsos et al
 Metal Concentration and X-Ray Cool Spectral Component in the 
  Central Region of the Centaurus Cluster of Galaxies - Y. Fukazawa et al
 ASCA Observations of the warm absorber in MCG 6-30-15; the
  Discovery of a Change in Column Density - A.C. Fabian et al
 ASCA Observations of Hard X-ray Emission from the Rho Ophiuchi
  Dark Cloud - K. Koyama et al
 ASCA Observations of the Wolf-Rayet Binary HD 193793 - K. Koyama et al
 Plasma Structure of the North-East Rim of the Cygnus Loop 
  Observed with ASCA - E. Miyata et al
 The ASCA PV Phase Observation of FO Aquarii - K. Mukai et al
 Observations of EX Hydrae with ASCA - M. Ishida et al
More papers that were too late for this issue will appear in the 
August PASJ. A special issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters is
planned for November this year, where a further 15-20 papers will 
appear (including the first guest observer results).