XMM-Newton-NEWS  #28,    17-Jan-2003

ESA, XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre at
European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC)
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Version 5.4.1 of the Science Analysis System released



This release contains updated CTI algorithms for the EPIC instruments (pre and post cooling), effective area and response generation support for Timing and Burst mode (EPIC), and a few new tasks.


Improved MOS CTI algorithms have been implemented. These affect both the pre- and post-cooling observations. See also http://xmm.esac.esa.int/external/xmm_sw_cal/calib/


The effective area file (ARF) generator, arfgen, now supports Timing and Burst modes for all the EPIC cameras. A possibility of entering the source position in Telescope coords (sourcecoords="TEL") has been added. The code now checks the FLAG setting in the spectrum data sub-space to decide whether to apply corrections for pixels which lie next to chip gaps and bad pixels. This also affects the task "backscale". A bug in the energy interpolation of the PSF, affecting pn spectra extracted from annuli, has been solved. See http://xmm.esac.esa.int/sas/documentation/watchout/arfgen_annuli.shtml


The redistribution matrix generator, rmfgen, now supports Timing and Burst mode data from all EPIC cameras. The redistribution functions (RMFs) for the MOS cameras have been made epoch dependent to describe the changing detector resolution with satellite revolution number. This has been implemented via the current calibration file (CCF) and it is now important to generate the correct calibration index file (CIF) for the date of an observation. See cifbuild documentation for how to do this. This can also be done at http://xmm.esac.esa.int/sas/current/doc/cifbuild/ This mechanism enables rmfgen to generate pre- and post-cooling RMFs for the MOS cameras. Further details of these changes are provided in XMM-SOC-CAL-SRN-0135. The EPIC-pn RMFs for the imaging modes have been tweaked slightly in response to improvements in the understanding of the instrumentation. The task has been made compliant with the latest OGIP definition of the HDUVERS keywords.


A simple interface for creating an EPIC source spectrum, background spectrum and related detector matrices in one pass, via the task especget, has been integrated into xmmselect. Details may be found in the especget, eregionanalyse and xmmselect (section user guides. Event attributes (sashelp --doc=evatt) can now be operated on from xmmselect, via the preferences menu.



Resumption of Product Distribution following the RGS/MOS cooling

With the successful completion of the RGS/MOS cooling exercise, and the derivation of up to 90 new CCF constituents to support the post-cooling observations and improve on the pre-cooling ones, pipeline processing was applied nominally to post-cooling XMM-Newton Data from 19-Dec-2002, and following full validation of the resulting products, normal product distribution was resumed on 16-Jan-2003.

Status of AO-2 and Plannings for AO-3

The first target of AO-2, 4U 1746-371, was successfully observed in revolution 509 (2002-09-19).

At present 14.4% of the allocated AO-2 targets with A or B priority have been observed. This corresponds to 18.1% of the allocated observing time in these category classes. Based on the achieved efficiency, we expect that the AO-2 program will finish mid to end of November 2003.

The next call for proposals, AO-3, is planned to be issued on the 17th of March 2003 with deadline on 30th of April.

We anticipate for AO-3 a two phase proposal submission process: In response to the call, principal investigators (PIs) will be asked to provide the scientific justification and some major source and observing parameters, like coordinates, observation duration and observing mode of the prime instrument; this will be done using the well known HEASARC developed RPS. During the second phase of the proposal submission, only successful PIs will be asked to provide the exposure parameters in full detail.

XMM-Newton Technical Description Web Pages

The SOC has completed work on some new web pages: `XMM-Newton: A Technical Description'.

The rationale for these pages is to describe the XMM-Newton spacecraft, its mirrors and the scientific payload in a rather technical way which we hope is not only of interest to astronomers analysing XMM-Newton data but also to colleagues interested in the technical aspects of this mission.

The pages are accessible via the `Links about XMM-Newton' portal page which is available at the following URL:


Yours sincerely,
XMM-Newton SOC