XMM-Newton-NEWS  #48,    23-Mar-2005

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

SOC Home Page: https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/xmm-newton/
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/newsletter


Anticipated time line for next Announcement of Opportunity

The planned key milestones for the fifth XMM-Newton "Announcement of Opportunity" have been established. Within this AO5 a new call to submit proposals for observations to be performed with the XMM-Newton observatory will be issued.

To be prepared for this, please find below the anticipated time line:

Announcement of Opportunity05 September 2005
Due date for proposals14 October 2005 (12:00 UT)
Final OTAC approved programmeearly January 2006
For approved proposals only:
Start of phase II proposal submission23 January 2006
Closure of phase II proposal submission17 February 2006
Start of AO5 observationsMay 2006

The official "Announcement of Opportunity" will be made public in the XMM-Newton News and on the XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre Home Page.

EPIC MOS1 Event of Rev. 961

At about 01:30 hrs (UT) on 09 March, 2005, during XMM-Newton revolution 961, an event was registered in the focal plane of the EPIC MOS1 instrument. The characteristics of the event were reminiscent of very similar, but less energetic events registered in the MOS1 focal plane on September 17, 2001, the MOS2 focal plane on August 12, 2002, and the pn focal plane on October 19, 2000, which were attributed to micrometeoroid impacts scattering debris into the focal plane. In each MOS case a bright flash of light caused data buffer overflows for the CCDs across the whole focal plane, and in all cases a number of new hot or defective pixels were subsequently mapped and masked. The consequences of the recent event appear to be more significant.

In the period immediately following the light flash it became apparent that MOS1 CCD6 was no longer recording events, and that all CCD6 pixels were, in effect, returning signal at the saturation level. Standard recovery procedures were immediately applied, but had no effect on the observed behaviour, raising the possibility that CCD6 had sustained significant damage. Evidence of a limited number of new hot pixels elsewhere in the MOS1 focal plane was also recorded. These other effects are relatively minor.

At the time of writing this note, scientific observations are continuing normally with XMM-Newton, including MOS1, but with CCD6 switched off. Intensive investigations are underway involving the ESA Operations Team and the instrument PI team in an effort to fully characterise changes in the instrument status.

While every effort will be made to minimise impacts of this event on data flow and service to our users, Community colleagues will understand that very careful and painstaking investigations now need to continue until we fully understand the impacts of this event for the instrument. Precise test operations will be carried out, with prior validation in the laboratory on the spare instrument chain. Any ripple-on effects throughout the system must be carefully evaluated.

However, apart from the disabling of MOS1 CCD6 our baseline at this time is to maintain normal data deliveries from XMM-Newton.

Observers are invited to monitor a dedicated web page, available at
for news about the progress of the investigations, and for advice on any adaptations that might be needed in the data processing chain to cope with a new status of MOS1 CCD6. That said, it is anticipated that impacts on data reduction will be minimal, and indeed that the scientific impacts, even if CCD6 cannot be recovered, will be small.

5th ESAC SAS Workshop

The SOC announces the 5th Science Analysis System (SAS) Workshop, which will be held at ESA's European Space Astronomy Centre, ESAC, close to Madrid, Spain, from

Tuesday, June 7 to Friday, June 10, 2005.

SAS Workshops aim at providing astronomers, having little or no experience of XMM-Newton data analysis, with an introduction to the procedures and techniques to successfully reduce and analyze XMM-Newton data.

About one-third of the Workshop time is devoted to presentations, and the remaining two-thirds to practical training (hands-on) sessions. During the latter, one workstation will be available for every two participants. The lecture program covers topics such as: instrument calibration status, SAS installation and set-up, spectral analysis of point-like sources with EPIC and RGS, EPIC source detection and timing analysis, analysis of extended sources with EPIC, OM data reduction and analysis, the XMM-Newton serendipitous source catalogue, and science archive.

Interested persons are invited to fill in the registration form, available at:


Attendance is strictly limited to 20 persons to ensure proper support during the training sessions. The available places will be filled on a "first-register, first-served" basis.

Deadline for submission of the applications is May 6, 2005.

XMM-Newton SOC Trainee Project

In 2004 five young scientists participated in a pilot trainee programme taking place at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) and contributing to the XMM-Newton project.

The trainees were from the University of Madrid (Spain), the University of Bonn (Germany) and from the ESA Young Graduate Trainee Programme.

The idea behind the project is to build up a group of 3-5 people at different stages in their scientific or technical careers, with membership rotating on timescales of three months to one year, who contribute to the work of the XMM-Newton Team. Moreover, all participants benefit from this work by developing new skills and building up knowledge in a space science related environment.

Additionally, due to the cooperation of several universities in the project, students have the possibility to build up networks also outside of ESA, benefiting their future careers.

A Web page describing the XMM-Newton SOC Trainee Project is available, offering further information, at

Yours sincerely,
XMM-Newton SOC