XMM-Newton Status Report - November 2005
Operations and archiving
The completion status of the observing programme is as follows:
- AO-3 programme, 99.5%
- AO-4 programme, 50.3%
Completion of the above programmes is expected by March 2006, in line with the planned start of AO-5 observations. The fifth announcement of opportunity (AO-5) was issued on 5 September 2005 as planned. The due date for proposals is 14 October 2005 (12:00 UT).
Several Targets-of-Opportunity and Discretionary Time targets were observed, namely EXO 0748-676, GB 1428+4217, SN2005cs, GRB 050713, GRB 050730, SN 2005db and GRB 050820B.
A new version of the XMM-Newton Science Analysis System (SAS) (version 6.5) was released on 17 August. Most importantly, the new version allows better modeling of spatial and temporal response dependencies of the MOS cameras and therefore leads to a much better cross-calibration among the EPIC instruments.
Version 2.8 of the XMM-Newton Science Archive (XSA) was released on 2 August. Among other improvements, the new version for the first time allows access to a sample of multicolour optical images from the XMM-Newton Survey Science Centre X-ray Identification follow-up program and provides a data quality report for each observation. The archive has 1550 external users as of 23 August. The monthly usage can be characterized through the following numbers for July 2005: in total about 960 separate data sets were downloaded by 132 external users.
Over 350 scientists attended the XMM-Newton organised X-ray/astrophysical conference with the title "The X-ray Universe 2005" (26-30 September in the EUROFORUM, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain). The general opinion was that the conference had an excellent programme and perfect organization and venue. It served as an excellent review of the current status in X-ray astronomy and highlighted many areas where extensive progress has and is being made. Amongst the many outstanding contributions was an invited paper by Bob Warwick (Leicester Univ., UK) entitled "The Diffuse X-ray Emission of Our Galaxy". This highlighted the many contributions XMM-Newton, in particular, made to our understanding of this topic, but also clearly illustrated that e.g. the origin of the galactic ridge emission in hard X-rays is not yet solved and certainly warrants more observations.
In total 921 papers based on XMM-Newton observations had been published in the refereed literature before 5 October.