XMM-Newton Status Report - May 2006
17 May 2006 12:18Mission Status
XMM-Newton operations continue smoothly with the spacecraft, instruments and ground segment performing nominally.
Operations and archiving
The completion status of the observing programme is as follows:
Completion of all the A and B priority programmes is expected in March 2007, in line with the planned start of AO-6 observations. The Principal Investigators of AO-5 proposals have been informed of the Observation Time Allocation Committee decisions and observation of AO-5 targets started on 1 May 2006.
Several Targets-of-Opportunity and discretionary time targets were observed, namely V1118 Ori, SGR 1806-20, GRB050925A, GRB051016, GRB051103 and RX J0720.4-3125.
A Scientific Workshop at ESAC (E) with the title "Variable and broad iron lines around black holes" is planned by the XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre for 26 - 28 June 2006.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society has published a paper (Barnard et al. 2006, MNRAS 366, 287) about three XMM-Newton observations of the low-mass X-ray binary (LMXB) Bo 158 which is located in the nearby galaxy M31. The observations were spread over a three day interval in July 2004. Periodic dips in the X-ray intensity from this system were known to occur with a 2.78 hr period and are probably due to absorption by material that is located in a thickened bulge around part of the outer edge of the accretion disc. The XMM-Newton observations reveal an even more complex picture with the dip depth being anti-correlated with the source intensity. The authors suggest that the dip depth variations are due to precession of the accretion disc. This effect has been predicted in LMXBs with orbital periods ≤4h and a hydrodynamic simulation of the disc in this system is consistent with the observed variations in the dip depth. The authors predict that the dipping behaviour repeats on an 81 ± 3 hr cycle - perhaps something that will be tested with future XMM-Newton observations?
In January XMM-Newton celebrated its 1000th refereed paper with an ESA science and technology news release. In total, our records show 1070 papers - either completely or partly based on XMM-Newton observations - had been published in the refereed literature. Of these, 286 were published in 2005 and 65 so far in 2006.