XMM-Newton-NEWS  #203,    09-Oct-2017

XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre at
ESA's European Space Astronomy Centre,
P.O. Box - Apdo. 78, 28691 Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain
SOC Home Page: http://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/xmm-newton/
Helpdesk web interface: http://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/xmm-newton/xmm-newton-helpdesk
Helpdesk email address: xmmhelp@sciops.esa.int
News Mailing List: http://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/xmm-newton/newsletter


  • XMM-Newton AO-17 closure
  • Update of the Point Spread Function of the XMM-Newton X-ray Telescopes
  • Statistics of XMM-Newton Publications
  • Symposium Announcement: "Relativistic Astrophysics"
  • AHEAD High Resolution X-ray Spectroscopy School

XMM-Newton AO-17 closure

The XMM-Newton seventeenth Announcement of Opportunity (AO-17) closed on the 6th of October 2017.

In total, 441 valid proposals were received, 16 of them within the category of 'Multi-Year Heritage Programmes'. A total of 57.7 Ms were requested in this category, for which 6 Ms of observing time over at most three consecutive AOs were available. This results in an over-subscription factor of 9.6.

For the rest of the proposals (425) this Announcement of Opportunity covers a period of one year, with 12 Ms of observing time available for distribution. A total of 77.2 Ms of science time were requested. The over-subscription factor is 6.4.

A total of 64 proposals were received for 'Large Programmes', and 13 for the new category of 'Fulfil Programmes'. Triggered/ToO observations were requested in 51 proposals. For the joint programmes, 84 proposals were submitted: 23 requested time for the XMM-HST programme, 10 for the XMM-SWIFT programme, 4 for the XMM-VLT programme, 8 for the XMM-Chandra programme and 44 for the XMM-NuSTAR programme.

SOC received proposals from 334 different principal investigators from 29 countries, mostly ESA member and associated states, the United States and Japan. The number of countries involved increases to 40 if co-investigators are taken into account as well. Considering principal investigators and co-investigators, about 1500 individual scientists were involved in the response to the seventeenth Announcement of Opportunity.

Update of the Point Spread Function of the XMM-Newton X-ray Telescopes

Calibration files giving a new parameterisation of the point spread function (PSF) of the X-ray telescopes have been released, primarily affecting sources located within 3 arcminutes of the boresight. The net effect of these changes is to improve the agreement between EPIC-pn and MOS spectra, particularly at energies above 3 keV.

The parameters have been adjusted to improve the consistency in EPIC spectral fits achieved when using data from the core and from the outer parts of a source PSF. This is particularly useful for observations suffering from pile-up, where the inner core needs to be excised. In addition, a change in the normalisation radius leads to a general reduction in effective area of 1-2% for typical extraction regions.

Please refer to the CCF Release Note


for full details.

Statistics of XMM-Newton Publications

XMM-Newton publications are searched for on SAO/NASA's Astrophysics Data System Bibliographic Services (ADS). Every potential XMM-Newton paper is manually inspected and, if it fulfills some pre-defined criteria, it is acepted and classified into one of the nine existing categories.

The Web page


gives details about this process and shows the statistics of XMM-Newton Publications.

Symposium Announcement: "Relativistic Astrophysics"

The Symposium "Relativistic Astrophysics" will be held within the framework of the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS) 2018 from 3rd to 6th April 2018 in Liverpool (United Kingdom).

This symposium will discuss the current theoretical understanding and observational frontiers of General Relativity (with XMM-Newton, NuSTAR and Chandra) as well as the developments of new observational facilities (Virgo and Ligo, GRAVITY, Event Horizon Telescope and Large Synoptic Survey Telescope).

Details are given at


AHEAD High Resolution X-ray Spectroscopy School

The School "High Resolution X-ray Spectroscopy" will take place from 14th to 17th November 2017 in Alicante (Spain).


AHEAD aims at providing young astronomers the specific theoretical and practical skills to successfully exploit the current and future generation of X-ray instruments. Experts in several fields will deliver lectures and conduct hands on sessions. Although the course will be self contained, a previous background in X-ray astronomy is highly recommended. The School is limited to 40 students. Registration is free of charge.

More information can be found at



Yours sincerely,

XMM-Newton SOC