XMM-Newton Status Report - February 2006
15 Feb 2006 14:07Mission Status
XMM-Newton operations continue smoothly with the spacecraft, instruments and ground segment performing nominally. The launch of MSG-2 impacted XMM-Newton operations with a loss of 6 full science orbits because the XMM-Newton ground stations were required in support of MSG-2 LEOP. However, the total annual time lost due to launch and early orbit support of other missions is still well within the anticipated pre-launch predictions.
Operations and Archiving
The completion status of the observing programme is as follows:
Completion of the above programmes is expected by April 2006, in line with the planned start of AO-5 observations.
The meeting of the chairpersons of the Observing Time Allocation Committee panels took place on 13-14 December 2005 at ESAC. Recommendations for the AO-5 observing programme were made. Following approval by the Director of Science, the PI's of the selected observations are being informed.
Several Targets-of-Opportunity and discretionary time targets were observed, namely V1118 Ori, SGR 1806-20, GRB050925A, GRB051016, GRB051103 and RX J0720.4-3125.
Astronomy & Astrophysics published a letter (2005, A&A 442, L25) by F. A. Aharonian, et al. about a possible association of the recently discovered very high-energy γ-ray source HESS J1825-137 with the pulsar wind nebula of the 2.1×104 year old Vela-like pulsar PSR B1823-13. The centroid position of HESS J1825 137 is offset by 11' south of the pulsar position. XMM-Newton observations have revealed X-ray synchrotron emission of an asymmetric pulsar wind nebula extending to the south of the pulsar. The authors argue that the observed morphology and TeV spectral index suggest that HESS J1825-137 and G 18.0-0.7 may be associated. The longer lifetime of TeV emitting electrons naturally explains why the TeV nebula is larger than the X-ray size. Finally, supernova remnant expansion into an inhomogeneous medium is expected to create reverse shocks interacting at different times with the pulsar wind nebula, resulting in the offset X-ray and TeV γ-ray morphology.
In total 996 papers – either completely or partly based on XMM-Newton observations – had been published in the refereed literature by 30 December; of these 276 were published in 2005.