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GSFC XMM-Newton GOF Status Report #090: XMM-NEWTON NEWS #41

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_/                 XMM-NEWTON NEWS #41   ---    30-Aug-2004                 _/
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                ESA, XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre at
            Villafranca del Castillo, Satellite Tracking Station
                P.O. Box - Apdo. 50727, 28080 Madrid, Spain
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       XMM-Newton Announcement of Opportunity (AO-4)
       - Letter of invitation by the Director of the ESA Scientific Programme
       - Appendix: Overview of Documentation
       - Changes and new tools for AO-4

XMM-Newton Announcement of Opportunity (AO-4)
Letter of invitation by the Director of the ESA Scientific Programme
Dear Colleague,
I am very pleased to invite you to respond to the fourth "Announcement of
Opportunity" to submit proposals for observations to be performed with the
XMM-Newton observatory.
XMM-Newton is the second cornerstone of ESA's Horizon 2000 Science Programme.
It was launched by an Ariane 5 launcher on the 10th of December 1999 and
offers astronomers a unique opportunity to perform high throughput non-
dispersive spectroscopic imaging in the energy range from 0.3 keV to 12 keV
(European Photon Imaging Camera; EPIC) and medium resolution dispersive
spectroscopy (Reflection Grating Spectrometer; RGS) in the energy range from
0.4 keV to 2.2 keV.  In addition it provides simultaneous optical/UV
observations with a co-aligned telescope (Optical Monitor; OM).
This Announcement solicits proposals to be carried out in the period from
April 2005 to March 2006.  Proposers from all over the world are welcome to
participate.  All proposals will be subject to independent peer review by the
XMM-Newton Observing Time Allocation Committee (OTAC).  Potential proposers
are expected to prepare and submit proposals in electronic form, by the
deadline given below, using the XMM-Newton Remote Proposal Submission (RPS)
The documentation for this Announcement is available via the internet at:
The appendix to this announcement lists the relevant documents and explains
in detail how to access them.  I would appreciate it if you would distribute
the attached information at your home institute.
The key milestones for this Announcement are:
Announcement of Opportunity     30 August 2004
Due date for Proposals          8 October 2004 (12:00 UT)
Final OTAC approved program     December 2004/January 2005
I invite you to submit your proposals and wish you success in using the
XMM-Newton observatory.
Yours sincerely,
Prof. D. Southwood
ESA Scientific Programme.
Appendix: Overview of Documentation
This appendix outlines the content of each of the documents associated with
the X-ray Multi-mirror Mission's (XMM-Newton's) Announcement of Opportunity.
XMM-Newton Announcement of Opportunity:  This letter from the Director of
ESA's Scientific Programme is the formal Announcement of Opportunity to apply
for XMM-Newton observing time.
XMM-Newton Announcement of Opportunity - Policies and Procedures:  This is
the "administrative" document of the Announcement, providing all necessary
information about the policies adopted and the procedures to be followed.
XMM-Newton Users' Handbook:  This gives a description of the satellite and
its instruments, followed by detailed information on how to observe with
XMM-Newton.  For each of the three scientific instruments on board XMM-Newton
(EPIC, RGS and OM) detailed information sufficient to calculate the necessary
observing times is provided.
The documents listed above can be read (and downloaded) through the World
Wide Web on the XMM-Newton Public Server located at VILSPA, at the URL:
and can also be retrieved generally as postscript files from the
XMM-Newton/VILSPA ftp server.  Proposers should use ftp to access
"xmm.vilspa.esa.es", then, log in as "anonymous" and give their e-mail
address as password. Type "cd pub/AO4" to go to the directory containing
the relevant files.  The desired files can then be copied by typing
"get filename" after issuing the "binary" command.
Changes and new tools for AO-4
The scheduling of targets accepted in AO-4 is expected to start around
April 2005 and most of the observations should have been performed by
March 2006.  Depending on, for example, target visibility or the need to
re-schedule (part of) a proposal, some AO-3 targets will still be scheduled
in the AO-4 time frame.  On the other hand, some AO-4 targets might already
be scheduled before April 2005 if no other targets can be observed in a
specific XMM-Newton revolution.
Future XMM-Newton AOs will be issued once per year around August/September
and nominal time intervals for the scheduling of accepted observations will
last for 12 months.
Potential proposers should take notice of the fact that some aspects of the
Policies and Procedures for AO-4 have changed compared to earlier AOs:
- A new proposal category has been introduced to flag joint XMM-Newton ESO
  (VLT and VLTI) proposals (see section 5.2.5 of the Policies and Procedures
- From AO-4 onwards, 'Large Programs' are handled as a special proposal
  category. The decision to classify a program as large should be made by the
  proposer (section 5.2.2).
- For Large Programs the scientific justification can be up to 5 pages long,
  instead of 4 pages allowed for all other proposal categories.
- Requirements for studies of the feasibility of proposed observations
  have changed (section 5.7).
In order to help potential proposers with the preparation of their
XMM-Newton proposals, the SOC has provided some tools:
- The Scientific Justification LaTeX template file, see
  Experience from previous AOs shows that all the entries listed in this
  template should be addressed. The use of this template for XMM-Newton
  proposal justifications now is mandatory.
- The XMM-Newton 'Observation Lokator', see
  This tool assists potential proposers by checking existing performed and
  planned observations and data before submitting proposals for observation.
  The search can be performed using SIMBAD or NED as a lookup for target
  name, or simply by entering RA & Dec combined with a search radius.
- The updated XMM-Newton Target Visibility checker, see
  now covers the entire AO-4 range of revolutions, incorporates
  more precise visibility predictions and includes a radiation model.
Yours sincerely,
XMM-Newton SOC
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