With the aim of taking full advantage of the complementarity of ground-based and space-borne observing facilities, ESO and ESA have agreed to establish an environment for those scientific programmes that require observations with both the ESO VLT(I) telescopes and the XMM-Newton X-ray observatory to achieve outstanding and competitive results.
By agreement with the XMM-Newton observatory, ESO may award up to 290 ks (80h) of XMM-Newton observing time. Similarly, the XMM-Newton project may award up to 80 hours of ESO VLT(I) observing time. This applies to the duration of an XMM-Newton cycle, which normally extends over two ESO observing periods.
Proposers wishing to make use of this opportunity will have to submit a single proposal in response to either the XMM-Newton or the ESO call for proposals: proposals for the same programme submitted to both observatories will be rejected. Although time is requested on both observatories, it will be unnecessary to submit proposals to two separate reviews. A proposal submitted to ESO will be reviewed exclusively by the ESO's OPC; a proposal submitted to the XMM-Newton observatory will be reviewed exclusively by the XMM-Newton OTAC. Proposals that request different amounts of observing time on each facility should be submitted to the observatory for which the greatest amount of time is required.
The primary criterion for the award of observing time is that both ESO VLT(I) and XMM-Newton data are required to meet the scientific objectives of the proposal. It is not essential that the project requires simultaneous XMM-Newton and ESO telescope observations. Targets of Opportunity are excluded from this cooperative programme.
It is the proposers' responsibility to provide a full and comprehensive scientific and technical justification for the requested observing time on both facilities. In the comment field for VLT observations, proposers should specify for each target: 1) instrument and set-up, 2) target brightness (w/ associated wave-band), 3) special scheduling requirements (time criticality, split of various runs and their corresponding telescope-time, etc.), 4) special calibrations, if needed and 5) observing constraints (at least seeing/transparency). Both the ESO and XMM-Newton observatories will perform feasibility checks of the approved proposals. They each reserve the right to reject any observation determined to be unfeasible for any reason. The rejection by one observatory could jeopardize the entire proposed science programme.
Apart from the above, for both the ESO VLT(I) and the XMM-Newton observatory, the general policies and procedures currently in force for the final selection of the proposals, the allocation of observing time, the execution of the observations, and the data rights remain unchanged.
Scientists can apply for the joint programme in the ``Observation Form'' of the XMM-Newton RPS. For each observation the PI has to specify the required observing time for both observatories. The ``Comment'' field should be used to briefly describe the VLT(I) instrument modes and scheduling constraints.