XMM-Newton-NEWS #27,    20-Dec-2002

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/
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Helpdesk email address: xmmhelp@sciops.esa.int
News Mailing List: https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/xmm-newton/newsletter


Status of the RGS/MOS cooling

In XMM-Newton News #25 and #26, issued in November, the benefits of reducing the operating temperatures of the RGS and EPIC MOS instruments were discussed. The results of operating RGS and MOS at -110 and -120 degrees C, respectively, were reported. These include major reductions in hot pixels and hot columns, and reduction by some factors in charge-transfer inefficiency (CTI). The illustration of some benefits achieved through the cooling, presented at URL:
speak for themselves.

Now, in mid-December 2002, we can confirm the benefits described earlier, and also report that ongoing contamination monitoring measurements show no sign at all of any contamination of the detectors at their reduced operating temperatures. New, post-cooling, calibration files (CCFs) have been derived for RGS and MOS and were initially checked-out in the SAS by the first days of December. During the cooling period, normal science observations continued on most revolutions. Although some delays in data product generation were anticipated in order to allow the re-establishment of the instrument calibration after cooling, SSC made use of the intervening time to tackle processing of some old, problematic, datasets which required particular attention. So impacts of the cooling campaign on product generation have been minimised.

Status of the Scientific Analysis Software (SAS)

A new SAS version (SAS 5.4.0) has been successfully built in the last few days. It will be used in its Pipeline Processing System (PPS) incarnation over the Christmas period for reducing the backlog in data product generation. We expect to have returned fully to the normal data production cycle between mid and end of January 2003. The data processed over the Christmas period include the so-called Science Validation (SV) data. These data are used for assessing the scientific quality of the SAS and its associated calibration before every new SAS release. The public SAS release can therefore only be done after inspection of these SV data products. Assuming successful completion of this exercise, it should be possible to release a new SAS by mid-January.

Extensive calibration analysis has been performed by the instrument and XMM-Newton SOC teams during the last couple of months; not exclusively related to the MOS and RGS cooling campaign. This has resulted in more than 80 new calibration files, some of which require the new software included in the latest SAS version. Public release of these new calibration files, which are already in use by the PPS, will take place together with the SAS 5.4 in January.

XMM-Newton Observation & Data Processing Status: update

The XMM-Newton Observation & Data Processing Status page available at URL:
has been updated.

For observations of which the proprietary date has passed, the date public now is a hyperlink to the postcard server in the XMM-Newton Science Archive (XSA) and no longer a simple hyperlink to the XSA itself.

EPIC background files

XMM-Newton background maps for the 3 EPIC instruments in their different instrument/mode/filter combinations and in several different energy bands have been constructed by Dr Andy Read (University of Birmingham, UK), using a superposition of many pointed observations. Event datasets for the different instrument/mode/filter combinations have also been constructed, with longer exposure times than for previously created files.

A description of the construction and usage of the background maps and event files, along with details on how to obtain these background products and related software can be obtained from the Univ. of Birmingham web page linked on the XMM-Newton Proposer's Info and Manuals SOC page available at URL:

Users' Guide to the XMM-Newton Science Analysis System

XMM-Newton SOC has released a major update of the Users' Guide to the XMM-Newton Science Analysis System (SAS) which is available now in different formats (postscript, pdf and html) from the XMM-Newton Proposer's Info and Manuals Web page (Section: Data Analysis) at URL:

This version of the Users's Guide (valid from SAS version 5.3 onwards) describes the constituents of the EPIC and OM observation data files, the standard pipeline processed data products and the SAS analysis steps which, in general, have to be conducted prior to the scientific analysis of XMM-Newton data products. We wish to thank all colleagues whose comments made this a more complete and accurate document.

Merry Christmas to you and yours, and all our very best wishes for a happy and successful year 2003.
Feliz Navidad!

Yours sincerely,
XMM-Newton SOC