XMM-Newton Eighteenth Announcement of Opportunity (AO-18)

The Announcement of Opportunity is closed now

Effective 21 August 2018, XMM-Newton observing proposals were solicited in response to the Eighteenth Announcement of Opportunity, AO-18.

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

The deadline for XMM-Newton AO-18 proposal submission was Friday 5 October 2018, 12:00 UT.

Important changes for AO-18 relative to earlier Calls

(see the Policies and Procedures Document)

Multi-Year Heritage Programmes not offered in this AO

Multi-Year Heritage Programmes cannot be proposed in AO-18. They may be offered again in future calls.

There is no upper limit to the time requested in Large Programmes.

New Joint Programmes

Three new Joint Programmes are offered in this AO. The XMM-Newton Project may award time for the following facilities:

H.E.S.S. 42 hours
MAGIC 42 hours
NRAO/GBO/LBO 3% of NRAO/GBO/LBO open skies observing time (105/82/34 hours respectively in Semester 18A)

Full details are given in the Policies and Procedures Document.

Trigger Probability

In the case of anticipated Target of Oportunity proposals, an estimation of the probability of triggering the observation during the AO must be given.

Reminder: Length of Scientific Justification

The maximum number of pages allowed for the scientific justification of the different types of proposals is:

Large Programmes: 5 pages
Fulfil Programmes: 2 pages
Other Programmes: 4 pages

This limit includes all accompanying material, like the section on the feasibility of the proposed observations, figures, tables, references, previous work and publications.

Proposal Submission Documentation

The following AO-18 documentation is available:

Letter by the Director of Science announcing AO-18 pdf
Policies and Procedures for the XMM-Newton AO-18 on-line , pdf
XMM-Newton Users Handbook (UHB) on-line , pdf
XMM-Newton Scientific Justification LaTeX Template 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-18 Timetable

Key milestones for AO-18 are

Announcement of Opportunity 21 August 2018
Due date for Proposals 5 October 2018 (12:00 UT)
Final OTAC approved programme mid December 2018
For approved proposals only:  
Start of Phase II proposal submission 8 January 2019
Closure of Phase II proposal submission 1 February 2019
Start of AO-18 observations May 2019


Approved AO-18 observations are planned to be performed during the period May 2019 to April 2020 (XMM-Newton revolutions 3552-3734).

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-18 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

  • EPIC Exposure Map Simulator
    For XMM-Newton Mosaic Mode

  • xmm_footprint.tpl (for ds9), xmm_footprint.xml (for Aladin)
    EPIC-pn footprint templates
    These files can be downloaded and be used as templates for ds9 and Aladin viewers. 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-18 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 for "Large Programmes", 2 pages for "Fulfil 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.