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XMM-Newton Twelfth Announcement of Opportunity (AO-12)

The Announcement of Opportunity AO12 is closed now

Effective 21 August 2012, XMM-Newton observing proposals were solicited in response to the Twelfth Announcement of Opportunity, AO-12.

A letter from ESA's Director of Science and Robotic Exploration, inviting you to participate in the Twelfth Call for Proposals, is available in electronic form (pdf).

The deadline for XMM-Newton AO-12 proposal submission was Friday 5 October 2012, 12:00 UT.

Important changes for AO-12 relative to earlier Calls

Joint XMM-Newton/Swift Programme

By agreement with the Swift Mission Project, proposers interested in making use of Swift time as part of their XMM-Newton science investigations may submit a single proposal in response to this XMM-Newton AO. The Swift Project is making up to 300 ks of Swift observing time available to such joint science proposals. The procedure to follow and the policies that apply are explained below under "Requesting Joint Programmes" and in section 5.4.5 of the Policies and Procedures document.

Changes in Proposal Categories

The proposal category "Galaxies and Galactic Surveys" has been merged with the category of "Groups of Galaxies, Clusters of Galaxies and Superclusters" to form the new category "Galaxies, Groups of Galaxies, Clusters of Galaxies and Superclusters". Therefore, the total number of scientific proposal categories is now six, rather than seven before.

Changes in the XMM-Newton Remote Proposal Submission (RPS) software

  • Only two Proposal Types: "Guest Observer" and "Anticipated Target of Opportunity":
    In order to simplify the procedure to request the different kinds of proposals and combinations of them, previous proposal types have been re-defined into only two. Former proposal types like, e.g., "XMM-Newton/Chandra", "XMM-Newton/VLT(I)", "XMM-Newton/HST", "Large Programs", "Large & Joint" or "Triggered & Large" and "Triggered & Joint", do no longer exist. Now the "Guest Observer" proposal type covers the majority of proposals (see section 5.2.1 of the Policies and Procedures document), and requests for them being as well Large, Very Large or Joint programmes can be added and combined as explained below. The only other proposal type is now "Anticipated Target of Opportunity", which includes the previous "Triggered Observations" proposal type as explained in the following item.
  • "Anticipated Target of Opportunity" Proposal Type:
    In addition to the "Guest Observer" proposal type, the new type "Anticipated Target of Opportunity" includes former "Triggered Observations" and Pre-planned Targets of opportunity, "ToOs". The XMM-Newton Project recognizes two kinds of ToOs: "Anticipated ToOs" and "Unanticipated ToOs", that are described in sections and of the Policies and Procedures document, respectively. "Anticipated ToOs" can be proposed in response to this XMM-Newton AO, following the instructions provided in section
  • Requesting Large and Very Large Programmes:
    Scientists proposing for Large or Very Large Programmes (described in sections 5.3.1 and 5.3.2 of the Policies and Procedures document, respectively) have to flag their proposal as "Large Programme=Y" in the "Cover Page" of the RPS. A Large Programme requesting more than 1 Ms automatically becomes a Very Large Programme.
  • Requesting Joint Programmes:
    Scientists applying for a Joint Programme with Chandra, VLT(I), Hubble Space Telescope or Swift (see section 5.4 of the Policies and Procedures document) have to indicate this in the "Observation Form" of the RPS. For each observation the PI has to specify, in addition to the XMM-Newton exposure time and instrument mode, the exposure time and instrument mode requested for the joint facility. The "Observation Form" provides specific fields for each of those parameters. The "Chandra Comment" (or similar comment field for every joint facility) has to be filled with the instrument and mode requested for those facilities, together with any scheduling constraints.
  • Applying for more than one Joint Programme:
    Scientists can apply for more than one Joint Programme, following the rules of the Policies and Procedures document. This intention has to be marked in the "Observation Form" of the RPS, providing details for each of the requested joint facilities, as described in the previous bullet.
  • Applying for Joint and (Very) Large Programmes:
    It is technically possible in RPS now to apply for combination proposals, which are Joint and (Very) Large Programmes at the same time, following the rules of the Policies and Procedures document. Instructions on how to fill RPS to mark such requests are given in previous bullets in this section.

Proposal Submission Documentation

The following AO-12 documentation is available:

Letter by the Director of Science and Robotic Exploration announcing AO-12 pdf
Policies and Procedures for the XMM-Newton AO-12 on-linepdf
XMM-Newton Users Handbook (UHB) on-linepdf
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-12 Timetable

Key milestones for AO-12 are:
Announcement of Opportunity 21 August 2012
Due date for Proposals 5 October 2012 (12:00 UT)
Final OTAC approved programme mid December 2012
For approved proposals only:
Start of Phase II proposal submission 8 January 2013
Closure of Phase II proposal submission 1 February 2013
Start of AO-12 observations May 2013

Approved AO-12 observations are planned to be performed during the period May 2013 to April 2014 (approximate XMM-Newton revolutions 2453 to 2635).

Proposal Submission Procedure and Tools

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

The following tools are available to assist AO-12 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
  • Outstanding Accepted ToO and Triggered Observations:   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-12 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. Proposers may submit their justifications either in one or two column format. Instructions to activate a specific column format are provided in the LaTeX template.

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 a postscript file to PDF:
    > latex file.tex
    > dvips -Ppdf -G0 -o file.dvi
    > ps2pdf14 file.pdf
Please take note of the following points regarding the use of the LaTeX template provided:
  • Users 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 center the text.
  • The page limit of 4 pages (5 pages only for justifications of "Large Programmes" and "Very Large Programmes") includes everything of your to-be-submitted proposal justification. Sections 4 and 5 (on previous work and publications) have to be included within the page limit.
  • You are free to include color images in your proposal justification. Proposals are distributed to OTAC in electronic form. However, the scientific content of the images should still remain extractable when displayed or printed in black and white only.
  • The proposal justification can be created both in single and 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.

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This page was last updated on 5 October, 2012.