XMM-NEWTON NEWS #3,   13-Mar-2001

ESA, XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre at
European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC)
P.O. Box - Apdo. 50727, 28080 Madrid, Spain

SOC Home Page: http://xmm.esac.esa.int/
Helpdesk web interface: https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/xmm-newton/xmm-newton-helpdesk
Helpdesk email address: xmmhelp@sciops.esa.int
News Mailing List: https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/xmm-newton/newsletterindex.shtml


Dear Colleagues,

Status and Scheduling of XMM-Newton Observations

Over the last half year the XMM-Newton Science Operation Centre (SOC) has published a number of pages on the Worldwide Web in order to provide information on the status and scheduling of XMM-Newton proposals.

The XMM-Newton users community should check these pages if they wish to find out more about the advanced planning of revolutions. It is also possible to inquire about already performed observations. In addition, the SOC is maintaining a list of activities performed during recent XMM-Newton revolutions.

Advanced Planning

The XMM-Newton Advanced Plan covers a period of three months, split in units of four revolutions (i.e. 8 days). It is built upon the most critical target(s) in each revolution. Most of the observations included in the plan therefore fall into one of the following classes:
The fraction of guaranteed time versus guest observer time is based on the principle agreement with the ESA Science Programme Committee (SPC) at the time of approval of the XMM-Newton mission (1988). The actual implemented profile is somewhat different because of initial observing efficiency being on the low side. The final profile as now agreed and implemented was endorsed by ESA's director of science at a review in VILSPA on 13-Feb-2001.

The XMM-Newton Advanced Plan for the next three months is available at

Principal investigators of accepted proposals are invited to periodically check the list. They should immediately contact the SOC (email: ) in case of problems.

Currently more than 90% of the observations are executed within four revolutions from what is originally specified in the advanced plan.

Scheduled Observations

The SOC has prepared an XMM-Newton Observation Search Page which allows the users to perform a search for scheduled observations. An observation enters this search page immediately after it has been scheduled, normally 2 - 3 weeks in advance of execution.

Nevertheless, no guarantee can be given that a listed observation is actually performed. It can happen that a revolution needs to be re-scheduled on short notice, e.g. to perform a target of opportunity observation. Similarly, severe solar storms and support to other spacecraft or ground problems may prevent the execution of a scheduled observation.

The search can be based on a proposal/observation ID or on a revolution number. Additional and more sophisticated search tools as well as detailed info on the success of a scheduled observation will be offered by future updates of this page.

The Observation Search Page (in its prototype version) is available at

Information about the scheduling of a specific proposal will be sent to the Principal Investigator of an XMM-Newton proposal via an automatic email notification system from mid March, 2001 onwards.

Latest Spacecraft News

The SOC is also maintaining a list of main spacecraft activities as a function of time. This list gives general information about the executed observations (e.g. observation type, coordination with other instruments). It also informs about solar flares, eclipses and other events affecting the observations.

The XMM Spacecraft's Status list is available at

Naming conventions for sources found by individual researchers

The XMM-Newton Observatory will produce serendipitous catalogues of typically 10's of X-ray sources and additional Optical/UV targets for each and every observation. While the eventual comprehensive catalogues will be produced by pipeline processing of data by the XMM-Newton Survey Science Centre, the following designation for informal identification in individual fields is recommended:
If you are referring to detected sources in XMM-Newton fields you should follow the naming convention XMMUJ HHMMSS.s+/-DDMMSS

    source position: RA 03 10 15.1, Dec -76 51 31.2 (J2000)
    recommended acronym: XMMUJ 031015.1-765131

    source position: RA 17 23 48.7, Dec +82 17 33.8 (J2000)
    recommended acronym: XMMUJ 172348.7+821733

With best regards,
The XMM-Newton User Support Group