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RXTE Information - Cycle 12 Guest Observer Program RXTE

The schedule for RXTE Cycle 12 is as follows:

Release Date October 23, 2006 as an Announcement
Due Date for Proposal Submission January 26, 2007, 4:30pm ET
Proposal Peer Review April 2007
Start of Cycle 12 observations on or around June 1, 2007

More Info

Changes for Cycle 12

  1. Cycle 12 Observations begin on or about June 1 and Cover 18 Months

    Cycle 12 may be the last call for proposals for RXTE (nominal termination date is near March 1, 2009). In general, RXTE Cycle 12 proposals should cover the time period of June 29, 2007 through January 1, 2009, with the following exceptions. Observations that require coordination with other observatories can be proposed to begin as early as May 1, 2007. Observations can be proposed for as late as February 28, 2009 with compelling justification, however PIs should be aware that demands on RXTE's time may be great in the final two months of its operations.

    In addition:

    Cycle 11 TOOs will not be triggered after June 28th.

    For PIs with monitoring programs in Cycle 11

    The nominal end of Cycle 11 is March 2007. PIs who wish to continue their monitoring campaigns in Cycle 12 should submit a Cycle 12 proposal requesting the time necessary to perform observations in the Cycle 12 period (18 months starting June 1, 2007). Upon receipt of the Cycle 12 proposal, the RXTE SOF will extend the Cycle 11 monitoring observations up through the Cycle 12 peer review, using holdover time from previous cycles with any necessary additional time contributed by the RXTE mission. Proposals accepted at the peer review will then have their observations extended until the start of AO-12; proposals rejected at the review will cease observation after the peer review. The peer review is currently scheduled for early April 2007.
  2. No Guest Observer Funds for Cycle 12 - No Budget Submissions

    The Cycle 12 announcement solicits proposals for observations only. No Guest Observer funding is available for RXTE Cycle 12. In this regard, Cycle 12 will be similar to RXTE Cycles 5-7.
  3. AKBAR/RPS is the sole site for proposal submission: Registration Required!

    Cycle 12 will use the new AKBAR/RPS system to receive electronic proposals. This is based on the old RPS system familiar to proposers from previous RXTE cycles, but users must create an account and log in. Please refer to AKBAR/RPS for RXTE for further details. Note: NSPIRES is NOT being used for Cycle 12 - only submit to AKBAR/RPS.
  4. Required Elements for a Complete Proposal

    Since there are no budgets to submit for this Cycle, the required elements for a complete proposal submission are: Cover Page, General Form, Target Form (with optional Constraints form), and Scientific Justification, all submitted to AKBAR/RPS. For more information, see the Checklist for Electronic Submission.

Other Features of RXTE Cycle 12

Here, we give an overview of important information to keep in mind, that is essentially unchanged from previous cycles.

  • Proposers are specifically encouraged to consider projects that would profit uniquely from large amounts of observing time, to enable large-scope investigations to be achieved. Large proposals, defined as those that request observing times of 500 ksec or more, are thus allowed 6 pages for the Scientific Problem and Technical Feasibility section of the proposal (see Information for Proposers C.1.1, C.2.2.2).

  • The PCA is currently being operated with reduced duty cycles for three out of the five PCU detectors. Proposers should calculate exposure times and discuss technical feasibility with an expectation of using an average of three PCUs. If special circumstances warrant or require the use of four or five PCUs for an observation (e.g., faint source spectroscopy or investigations of weak QPO signals), then a quantative justification must be clearly stated in the Technical Feasibility section. (Although every effort will be made to fulfill requests for more than three PCUs, operational limitations make it impossible to guarantee that the requested number of PCUs will be available.) In addition, it should be noted that some observations, especially those for source monitoring and/or extragalactic sources, may be conducted with two PCUs, and proposers should discuss the expected impact of this limitation on their observing program.

  • All proposals submitted in response to this Announcement must be for new pointed RXTE observations using the PCA and/or HEXTE instruments. Proposals for analysis of ASM data, proposals for analysis of archival RXTE data, and proposals for complementary observations or theoretical work that do not require new pointed observations should not be submitted.

  • As before, proposers who have previously been awarded RXTE observing time are required to append a page to their proposal listing by Cycle, title, and proposal number their previously accepted RXTE proposals and the status of the data analysis or publications that have followed from them.

  • A Cycle 12 proposal for a target already accepted for observation by RXTE in one or more of the previous Cycles is likely to be more successful at the peer review if it has a different observing plan or scientific emphasis from previous proposals, and the scientific investigation cannot be completed with archival data. The Cycle 1, Cycle 2, Cycle 3, Cycle 4, Cycle 5, Cycle 6, Cycle 7, Cycle 8, Cycle 9, and Cycle 10 and Cycle 11 programs can be perused in their entireity by following the links just given, or browsed using Argus.

  • Unobserved TOO targets approved in the previous Cycle must be reproposed for Cycle 12, if the PI still wants to observe them. The observing status of Cycle 11 TOOs can be found on the SOF's scorecards.

  • For TOO proposals, the probability that the TOO will be triggered during the Cycle must be estimated. Include the estimate, and any justification, in the proposal text.

  • Alternate targets are no longer supported due to the operational burden.

  • Faint source exposure times for the HEXTE may be as long as 500ks. It was earlier stated that cosmic background fluctuations would dominate Poisson errors for exposures above 100-200ks. However, new estimates which account for the 40% dead-time fraction and loss of detector PWB2 indicate that this faint source confusion limit may not be reached until at least 500ks - see the new HEXTE Feasibility Chapter for details.

  • The minimum observing time that can be requested for a single pointing is 1000 seconds. This limit applies to raster scans and monitoring observations as well as to single observations.

Cycle 12 Announcement and Related Documents

The RXTE Cycle 12 Announcement solicits observing proposals for participation in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) program to acquire scientific data from the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), for observations to be carried out in the interval beginning around June 1, 2007, and lasting for eighteen months.

Checklist for Electronic Submission of RXTE Proposals

No hardcopies will be accepted. No submission to NSPIRES. AKBAR/RPS submission is the only requirement.

For electronic submission, PIs should:

  • Enter their proposal data using the AKBAR/RPS for RXTE instructions. While entering your proposal, please keep in mind the following:

  • Generate one target form per requested observation, using AKBAR/RPS. You are required to submit one target form per possible observation. For example, if you are requesting "the first three of the twenty most interesting X-ray transients", you should submit twenty (not three) target forms, one for each possible trigger.
  • PIs at non-US locations should prepare the PostScript files for their Scientific Justifications using US paper sizes, or risk truncation of their text when the GOF prints out copies of the proposals for the Peer Reviewers. In LaTeX, paper sizes can be adjusted using
    or similar.
  • Your proposal is complete when you have submitted each of the following:
      Cover Page
      General Form
      Target Form(s), plus optional Contraints Form(s)
      Scientific Justification

Proposal Tools and Other Resources

  1. Response matrices and PHA files for simulations are available via anonymous FTP at legacy.gsfc.nasa.gov in the directory xte/nra/responses.

  2. The proposal aids PIMMS, viewing, recommd, hextemporize and hexterock are available on the web or via anonymous FTP at legacy.gsfc.nasa.gov in the directory xte/nra/software.

  3. See RXTE Instrument Configurations: the easy route for help in choosing RXTE instrument configurations appropriate to your observation.

  4. The RXTE Technical Appendix gives in-depth details of the RXTE pointed instruments and their configurations.

If you'd like to be a Peer Reviewer ....

The RXTE Cycle 12 Peer Review will take place in the Baltimore/Washington area in April 2007.

Reviewers must have a PhD at the time of the Peer Review.

If you would like to be considered as a reviewer, please send mail to the Peer Review list.

Getting Help

For help with AKBAR/RPS, see AKBAR/RPS for RXTE. If that doesn't answer your questions, you may write to the RPS Help Desk.

For all other questions, please send mail to the RXTE Guest Observer Facility.

If you have a question about RXTE, please send email to one of our help desks.

This page is maintained by the RXTE GOF and was last modified on Friday, 18-May-2007 16:00:10 EDT.