XMM-Newton Status Report - April 2003
The work on upgrading the overall ground segment to SCOS-2000 (as reported before) is running on schedule. The upgrade is expected to be finished towards end-2004.
Operations and archiving
The programme completion status is as follows:
- Guaranteed time : 96.9 %
- AO-1 programme : 93.5 %
- AO-2 programme : 39.4 %
Completion of all of the above observing programmes is expected by November 2003. The call for observing proposals for AO-3 was released on 17 March 2003 with a deadline at 30 April 2003. The results from the proposal review will be available by mid-July 2003.
The status of data processing and data shipment is nominal. Currently, almost 2500 observation sequences have been executed and the data for 2400 of these has been shipped. Version 2.0 of the XSA (XMM-Newton Science Archive), including the first release of the Survey Science Centre (SSC, PI: M. Watson, Leicester Univ., UK) generated source catalogue, was successfully released for use by the wide astronomical community on 7 April 2003.
The XMM-Newton Users Group met in VILSPA on 31 March-1 April 2003. The Users Group were very happy with the project status and several new recommendations were made to the project. The next meeting of this group will be on 22-23 September 2003.
A target of opportunity observation was triggered by the detection of a hitherto unknown transient (although in retrospect it had been detected by ASCA in 1994) by INTEGRAL. The follow-up observation by XMM-Newton was very successful. The source is clearly variable and has a strongly absorbed X-ray spectrum with a few very strong (Fe) emission lines. The first images from the deepest XMM-Newton observation ever (1 Msec on the Lockman Hole) are now available. The quality of the observations is such that X-ray spectral diagnostics on some 100 sources is possible.
On 27 February a Gamma-Ray Burst (GRB) alert from Integral was received and XMM-Newton decided to follow-up this event. GRB030227 was discovered by INTEGRAL on 27 February at 08:42 UT in the field of view of the IBIS telescope. The notification arrived to VILSPA at 10:00 UT and an observation was immediately approved by the XMM-Newton Project Scientist for execution at the beginning of revolution 590, which was starting at 11:09 UT the same day. The observation was started at 16:39:39.UT for a total of 49 ksec. Already after the first 1000 sec of exposure, two sources were clearly present in the MOS field of view.
This sequence of events clearly demonstrates the ability of XMM-Newton to rapidly (< 6 hours) follow-up external triggers, and illustrates the powerful and unique combination of both the INTEGRAL and XMM-Newton observatories.
Some 280 papers have been published in the refereed literature by early-April 2003. These were either directly or indirectly based on XMM-Newton observations.