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XMM-Newton Thirteenth Announcement of Opportunity (AO-13)

Due to a planned migration of the XMM-Newton SOC web portal, all SOC internet services (including ToO Alerts) will be unavailable Wednesday, 10 February from 10:00 to 13:00 (GMT).

The Announcement of Opportunity AO13 is closed now

Effective 27 August 2013, XMM-Newton observing proposals were solicited in response to the Thirteenth Announcement of Opportunity, AO-13.

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

The deadline for XMM-Newton AO-13 proposal submission was Friday 11 October 2013, 12:00 UT.

Important changes for AO-13 relative to earlier Calls

Joint XMM-Newton/NuSTAR Programme

By agreement with the NuSTAR Project, proposers interested in making use of NuSTAR time as part of their XMM-Newton science investigations may submit a single proposal requesting time with both missions in response to this AO. The NuSTAR Project is making up to 1.5 Ms of NuSTAR observing time available to such joint science proposals. The policies that apply are detailed in section 5.4.6 of the Policies and Procedures document. Note that NuSTAR data rights were changed on 24 September 2013.

Access to 3XMM (DR4) catalogue and bulk reprocessed pipeline products via the XMM-Newton Science Archive (XSA)

On 23 July 2013, XSA v8.0 was released with access to the third XMM-Newton Serendipitous Source Catalogue, 3XMM-DR4, and to the full pipeline-reprocessed XMM-Newton data. The new XSA interface is web-based and the command line access via self-made scripts using the Archive InterOperability system (AIO) is still possible, but requires the download of new AIO client files. Note should be taken that the old java-based XSA v7.2 and old AIO client files are still available but provide access only to the old pipeline products and the 2XMM catalogue rather than to 3XMM. More details are given at

Proposal Submission Documentation

The following AO-13 documentation is available:

Letter by the Director of Science and Robotic Exploration announcing AO-13 pdf
Policies and Procedures for the XMM-Newton AO-13 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-13 Timetable

Key milestones for AO-13 are:
Announcement of Opportunity 27 August 2013
Due date for Proposals 11 October 2013 (12:00 UT)
Final OTAC approved programme mid December 2013
For approved proposals only:
Start of Phase II proposal submission 8 January 2014
Closure of Phase II proposal submission 31 January 2014
Start of AO-13 observations May 2014

Approved AO-13 observations are planned to be performed during the period May 2014 to April 2015 (XMM-Newton revolutions 2636 - 2818).

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-13 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 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-13 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 10 October, 2013.