XMM-Newton-NEWS  #41,    30-Aug-2004

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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) software.

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.esac.esa.int", 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:
In order to help potential proposers with the preparation of their XMM-Newton proposals, the SOC has provided some tools:

Yours sincerely,
XMM-Newton SOC