XMM-Newton Status Report - February 2005
Operations and archiving
The completion status of the observing programme is as follows:
- Guaranteed time: 99.9 %
- AO-1 programme: 100.0 %
- AO-2 programme: 99.8 %
- AO-3 programme: 84.8 %
Completion of the above programmes is expected by March 2005, in line with the planned start of AO-4 observations.
Several Targets-of-Opportunity and discretionary time targets were observed, namely SN 2004dj, IGR J16465-4507, XTE J1810-197, SGR 1806-20 and IGR J18410-0535.
Version 6.1.0 of the XMM-Newton Science Analysis System (SAS) was released on 24 November 2004. The new version offers various improvements, among the most important: capability of background modelling for the reflection grating spectrometers and major changes to the OM grism data processing with the aim of making it more user-friendly. SAS 6.1.0 was already downloaded 120 times during the first week after release.
The XMM-Newton Science Archive (XSA) has 1290 registered users as of 6 December. The monthly usage can be characterized through the following numbers for October 2004: in total about 980 separate data sets were downloaded by 30 users. In November an exceptionally high usage was observed with about 5500 downloads of data sets.
The XMM-Newton fourth Announcement of Opportunity (AO-4) closed on 8 October 2004. The performance of the Remote Proposal Submission System was excellent. In total, 657 valid proposals were submitted requesting, in total, 101 747 ksec of science time. The fourth Announcement of Opportunity covers a period of one year with 14 500 ks of observing time available for distribution making the over-subscription factor 7. Proposals were received from 484 different principal investigators from 23 countries, mostly ESA member states, the United States and Japan. The number of countries involved increases to 35 if co-investigators are taken into account as well. Considering principal investigators and co-investigators, about 1600 individual scientists were involved in the response to the fourth Announcement of Opportunity.
The TAC process was successfully completed by early December and the results endorsed by the Director of Science. Proposers are being informed of the results.
At a press conference at the January 2005 AAS meeting in San Diego, Turner et al. presented their results from an XMM-Newton observation of the galaxy Markarian 766. This observation allowed to track individual blobs of matter in their orbits around a massive black hole. As a results of this, given long observation times and the collecting area of XMM-Newton, scientists are now able to make accurate measurements of different black hole characteristics and possibly even test general relativity in the domain of extreme gravity. In total 719 papers - either completely or partly based on XMM-Newton observations - had been published in the refereed literature by end-December 2004. Of this, 306 were published in 2004 alone.