XMM-Newton Sixteenth Announcement of Opportunity (AO-16)


The Announcement of Opportunity is closed now

Effective 23 August 2016, XMM-Newton observing proposals were solicited in response to the Sixteenth Announcement of Opportunity, AO-16.

A letter from ESA's Director of Science, inviting you to participate in the Sixteenth Call for Proposals, is available in electronic form.

The deadline for XMM-Newton AO-16 proposal submission was Friday 7 October 2016, 12:00 UT.

Important changes for AO-16 relative to earlier Calls


Details for Anticipated ToO proposals

The proposal form in the Remote Proposal Submission system includes a new mandatory field for proposals of type "Anticipated Target of Opportunity".
PIs must provide in this field a clear description of the trigger criteria, required reaction time and observing strategy.
For all accepted ToO proposals, the content of this field will be made public as entered in the form.

Change in ToO Policy

Anticipated Target of Opportunity observations require observing priority A or B. Anticipated ToOs can no longer be accepted with priority C.

Scientific Category for GRB Observations

Proposals requesting observations of GRBs have to be submitted to Category C: "Supernovae, GRB, Supernova Remnants, Diffuse (Galactic) Emission and Isolated Neutron Stars".

OM filter wheel rotations

Multiple OM filter wheel rotations can be accepted if specific requirements are fulfilled. If the science goals of the proposal cannot be achieved with the standard sequence of OM filter wheel positions, the PI has to explicitly request "Multiple OM Filter Wheel Rotations" in the Remote Proposal Submission form and justify their need in the scientific justification of the proposal.
The requested additional filter wheel rotations will be performed only if explicitly approved by the OTAC.

Bright sources in EPIC-pn Timing mode

Sources with an expected EPIC-pn count rate above 400 counts/s may be subject to distorted pn Timing mode spectra due to photon pile-up. They may be observed in pn Timing mode, but only if the case is clearly explained in the scientific justification and, furthermore, one additional 10 ks exposure in Burst mode is included in the request.
The Remote Proposal Submission system will include automatically this 10 ks Burst mode exposure, plus overhead, for observations in pn Timing mode if the estimated count rate of the source is higher than the above threshold.


Proposal Submission Documentation

The following AO-16 documentation is available:

Letter by the Director of Science announcing AO-16 pdf
Policies and Procedures for the XMM-Newton AO-16 on-line, pdf
XMM-Newton Users Handbook (UHB) on-line, pdf
XMM-Newton Scientific Justification LaTeX Template
(Scientific Justification must not exceed 4 pages, 5 pages for Large and Very Large Programmes)
LaTeX File

On-line documentation contains updated links to references in the text.

The XMM-Newton SOC highly recommends the use of the Scientific Justification LaTeX Template (see further instructions at the end of this page).

AO-16 Timetable

Key milestones for AO-16 are:
Announcement of Opportunity 23 August 2016
Due date for Proposals 7 October 2016 (12:00 UT)
Final OTAC approved programme late December 2016
For approved proposals only:
Start of Phase II proposal submission 10 January 2017
Closure of Phase II proposal submission 3 February 2017
Start of AO-16 observations May 2017

Approved AO-16 observations are planned to be performed during the period May 2017 to April 2018 (XMM-Newton revolutions 3186-3368).

Proposal Submission Procedure and Tools

XMM-Newton Proposals were submitted using the XMM-Newton Remote Proposal Submission software:

XMM-Newton Remote Proposal Submission

The following tools are available to assist AO-16 proposers:

  • Visibility Checker Tool:
    Check if a target is visible with XMM-Newton

  • Sky Visibility Map:
    Check visibility constraints for any position on the sky during this AO

  • Observation Lokator:
    Check if a target has been observed or is awaiting observation by XMM-Newton

  • Pending Anticipated ToOs:
    Check if a target has already been accepted as anticipated ToO, and find the validity period of the corresponding proposal

  • XMM-Newton Mosaic Mode:
    EPIC Exposure Map Simulator

  • EPIC-pn footprint template for ds9 and Aladin:
    the files xmm_footprint.tpl and xmm_footprint.xml can be downloaded to be used as templates for ds9 and Aladin viewers, respectively. They should be loaded as Region-Template-Load (in ds9) and FOV (in Aladin). The Position Angles with which a given object can be observed with XMM-Newton can be obtained with the Visibility Checker Tool.

Other Useful Links for Proposers

The following links are available to assist AO-16 proposers:

The following external links may also be helpful:

Using the LaTeX Template File

Use of the provided LaTeX template to write the scientific justification is highly recommended.

Proposal justifications MUST be submitted as one file in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF file can be generated from the LaTeX template in one of two ways:

  1. Use a LaTeX installation which allows you to create PDF files directly from the .tex file (e.g. pdflatex). Some installations of pdflatex do not allow you to include postscript figures. In this case you might use method 2.

  2. Use ps2pdf (preferably version 1.4) to convert the postscript file to PDF:
    > latex file.tex
    > dvips -Ppdf -G0 -o file.ps file.dvi
    > ps2pdf14 file.ps file.pdf

Please take note of the following points regarding the use of the LaTeX template provided:

  • Proposers must make sure that generated pdf output from the template is complete both when displayed with a viewer (acroread) and when printed on paper. LaTeX installations vary greatly and therefore it might not be possible to get all proposals to come out correctly with a single text page layout. In some cases the user will have to adjust the \topmargin=-7mm command in the template to vertically centre the text.

  • The page limit of 4 pages (5 pages only for justifications of "Large Programmes" and "Very Large Programmes") includes all materials, i.e. science justification and Sections 4 and 5 (previous work and publications).

  • Color images are allowed and proposals are distributed to OTAC in electronic form. However, the scientific content of images should still remain clear when displayed or printed in black and white.

  • The proposal justification can be submitted in single or in two-column format. Instructions on how to switch between these two layouts are given in the LaTeX template.

  • The font size (11pt) is mandatory.

All questions regarding XMM-Newton proposal submission should be directed to the XMM-Newton HelpDesk.