The X-ray Multi-mirror Mission (XMM-Newton) is the second cornerstone of ESA's Horizon 2000 Science Programme, providing an observatory-class X-ray facility. XMM-Newton was launched by an Ariane 5 on 10 December 1999 and has an expected lifetime of about 28 years. The observatory provides simultaneous non-dispersive spectroscopic imaging and timing (European Photon Imaging Camera; EPIC), medium resolution dispersive spectroscopy (Reflection Grating Spectrometer; RGS) and optical/UV imaging, spectroscopy and timing from a co-aligned telescope (Optical Monitor; OM).
In combination the three cameras of EPIC offer a large effective area over the energy range from 300 eV to 12 keV, up to 2500 cm at 1.5 keV and 1800 cm at 5 keV. Each of the two modules of the RGS cover the energy range from 0.4 keV to 2.2 keV with an effective area of up to 60 cm at 15 Å. Thus, XMM-Newton offers a unique opportunity for a wide variety of sensitive X-ray observations accompanied by simultaneous optical/UV measurements.
The majority of XMM-Newton's observing time is made available to the astronomical community by the traditional route of Announcements of Opportunity (AO), followed by peer review. These Announcements are open to the worldwide scientific community and the observing time they offer is referred to as ``Open Time''. This Announcement solicits proposals for observations to be carried out in the period between (approximately) May 2017 and April 2018.
Electronic submission of proposals will be required in response to this Announcement. For all matters related to a proposal, the Principal Investigator (PI) is the single point of contact for ESA. After peer review by the XMM-Newton Observing Time Allocation Committee (OTAC), every PI will be informed about OTAC's decision.
The following schedule has been established:
|Announcement of Opportunity||23 August 2016|
|Due date for proposals||7 October 2016 (12:00 UT)|
|Final OTAC approved programme||late December 2016|
|Definition of observation details||10 January to 3 February 2017|
As soon as the technical details of successful proposals are confirmed, the observations will be made available for scheduling. Thus, execution of observations resulting from the Announcement of Opportunity could start four to five months after OTAC's decision, or in individual cases a few weeks to months earlier, depending on the visibility of a target and on the science aimed.