XMM-Newton-NEWS  #57,    27-Jun-2006

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


XMM-Newton long-term scheduling plan

The scheduling of the fourth XMM-Newton observing cycle observations, AO5, started in May 2006 and is expected to end by May 2007. On June 6, a long-term scheduling plan for the AO5 period was released at:


Principal Investigators of pending XMM-Newton observations are encouraged to check this plan, especially if scheduling constraints were granted following the Time Allocation Committee recommendations. All observers should be aware that, as flexibility is required in the scheduling process, the long term plan only fills about 50% of the available observing time, using some 50% of the approved observations. Consequently about 50% of the approved observations do not appear in the long term plan. The full observing plan is only available some two to four weeks in advance of the start of a revolution. It is intended to follow the long term plan as closely as possible. The XMM-Newton SOC nevertheless reserves the right to modify it at any stage of the scheduling process, should this become necessary.

Users Group Meeting

The XMM-Newton Users Group met on the 18th and 19th of May 2006 at ESAC. Please find the agenda, presentations and minutes of this meeting at:


New EPIC 'blank sky' background events files

The EPIC Background Working Group announces the release of new XMM-Newton 'blank sky' background events files for the 3 EPIC instruments in each of their different instrument/mode/filter combinations, and constructed using superpositions of data from many pointed observations generated using the 2XMM reprocessing version of the SAS.

Files such as these have proved extremely useful in the analysis of diffuse or extended sources which cover a large area of the detector field of view, thus preventing the usage of any 'local' background. Various software tools are also available for manipulating these blank sky files.

The files and related software are available from the SOC website at:


XMM-Newton Science Archive (XSA) version 3.0 on-line

The XMM-Newton Slew Survey Catalogue (XMMSL1) is now available and fully integrated in XSAv3.0. XMMSL1 is the first catalogue of X-ray sources found in slew data taken from the European Space Agency's (ESA) XMM-Newton observatory. It has been constructed by members of the XMM SOC and the EPIC consortium on behalf of ESA. The so called "Clean" catalogue covers an area of more than 5000 square degrees (at a detection likelihood higher than 10) and comprises more than 2700 sources. The median flux limit is ~8.5x10^{-12} cgs in the hard (2-10 keV) band, whereas in the soft band it already reaches a comparable sensitivity level to the ROSAT All Sky Survey Bright Source Catalogue. Please, refer to the following URL for a detailed description of the catalogue and its content:


XSA users can access, browse and query the catalogue through the standard XSA user interface (http://xmm.esac.esa.int/xsa). Search-in-a-cone, as well as source-specific queries (such as on count rates, hardness ratios, quality flags or slew background level) are available. Images, exposures maps and graphical summaries illustrating the correlation between the XMMSL1 sources and the Digital Sky Survey finding charts are among the products, which can be downloaded through the XSA user interface.

A short "guided tour" of the XSA is available at the following URL:


together with a list of "how-to" Frequently Asked Questions:


Suzaku Conference 2nd Announcement

The 2nd announcement of the international conference "The Extreme Universe in the Suzaku Era", scheduled for December 4-8, 2006, at Kyoto, Japan has been issued. Registration opened on May 1 with the issue of the Call for papers.

A key deadline is: September 1 - Deadline for papers.

Further details are available at the conference web page:


Yours sincerely,
XMM-Newton SOC