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RXTE News Archive: 2003 RXTE


Recommended RXTE Cycle 9 Targets Released!

December 1, 2003

The Stage 1 review for RXTE Cycle 9 took place in November, 2003. Scientists from all over the world convened to discuss the 167 unique proposals that were submitted for consideration this year. The proposals and targets that were recommended to NASA Headquarters by the review panel is now available online. PIs should receive email notification of the results of their proposal, along with comments from the review panel, in the next two weeks.

Cosmic Brakes for Pulsars?

July 2, 2003

Using NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, scientists have found a limit to how fast a pulsar spins, and speculate that the cause is gravitational radiation. The results of the investigation, led by Prof. Deepto Chakrabarty of MIT, are presented in the July 3, 2003 issue of the journal Nature. See the NASA Press Release for details and links to some stunning visuals.

Instructions for RXTE Cycle 9 Proposers Now on Web

June 13, 2003

NASA's ROSS-03 Announcement was released earlier this year, soliciting proposals for the 9th Cycle of RXTE observations, to begin March 1, 2004. Cycle 9 will be conducted in much the same fashion as Cycle 8. Detailed instructions for proposers are now available on the Cycle 9 GO Information page, including relevant dates and submission requirements. Be sure to check it out!

(The Cycle 9 page is also accessible from the "Proposals & Tools" menu item at the top of all RXTE GOF Web pages.)

Recent RXTE Science Results

Posted June 1, 2003


At the March 2003 HEAD meeting in Mt. Tremblant, Canada, Tod Strohmayer (NASA/GSFC) presented his recent work with Richard Mushotsky on the behavior of the new class of intermediate mass black holes. This work was based on data from XMM and RXTE The full text of the press release can be found at http://universe.nasa.gov/press/2003/030324b.html.

Meanwhile, in Durham, United Kingdom, Christine Done and Marek Gierlinski presented their six-year long comparison of accretion behavior on black holes versus neutron stars, based on archival RXTE data, concluding that black holes really do harbor event horizons as opposed to surfaces. Their press release can be found at http://universe.nasa .gov/press/2003/030331a.html.

HEXTE Resumes Normal Operations After Short Interruption

April 3, 2003

At UT17:21:19 on 31 March 2003, HEXTE cluster A apparently sustained a single event upset in its telemetry interface. This caused its data stream to be corrupted, although the cluster apparently continued to operate normally. On 1 April at 18:25, the cluster was successfully rebooted. Note that observations between 18:25 and 22:39 have non-standard science mode and rocking parameters. Normal science operations resumed at 22:39 when the spacecraft schedule configured the cluster for observation 70078-01-33-00. Observations made between 2003:03:31 at 17:21 and 2003:04:01 22:39 were affected. Cluster B continued to operate nominally during this period.

Stage 2 Budget Information

March 12, 2003

Successful RXTE Cycle 8 proposers are now invited to submit budget requests as part of Cycle 8 Stage 2. You can find information and links to instructions on how to submit through RPS on our Web pages


Please direct any questions to the XTE helpdesk.

All RXTE Cycle 8 Phase 2 budget requests (hardcopies as well as electronic submissions) must be received by 4:30 PM EST Tuesday, April 15, 2003.

Realtime Pseudo-Production Data Just Got Better!

March 5, 2003

From 2003-03-05 improvements have been made to the quick pseudo-production FITS files provided by the RXTE SOF.

These changes will make the quick pseudo-production files more similar to the final production files and thus make analysis simpler. No other FITS products will be affected.

Currently there are three types of FITS files that are provided to RXTE users. These are:

  1. Quick FITS files produced within a few hours of the end of an observation.
  2. Quick pseudo-production level files made approximately 1 day after the end of an observation.
  3. Full production available within a couple of weeks of an observation

The changes being made to the FITS files will only affect type 2) above, the quick pseudo-production level files.

Previously both types 1) and 2) differed from the production data in that several keywords were missing from the FITS files and the directory structure differed.

The new quick pseudo-production files will:

  • - contain previously omitted keywords: RA, DEC and OBSID
  • - the directory structure will now be identical to the full production files.
  • - Small changes in the data format have been made to make them fully FITS compliant. e.g. floating point numbers previously written as xx.xxxe-10 are now written as xx.xxxE-10 These changes will also be made to other FITS products at a later date.

With these changes several of the additional steps previously required to analyze quick pseudo-production level data as described in the Working With Realtime Data Recipe are no longer needed. These are:
1. It is no longer necessary to insert RA and dec. into the index file.
3. Determine the "real" ObsID.

With these changes in place, typical GOs can use the full suite of RXTE analysis tools and scripts and do full scientifici analysis within 24 hours of the observation. Enjoy your new pseudo-production realtime data files. And as always, if you run into trouble, let us know at the XTE helpdesk.

Cycle 8 Approved Observing Program

February 11, 2003

The RXTE Cycle 8 Peer Review Guest Observer proposal review took place in Baltimore in early February 2003. Reviewers from around the country met to discuss, dissect and deliberate. After two long days of non-stop work, the recommended observing program for RXTE Cycle 8 has been chosen.

For the complete list of accepted targets, visit: http://rxte.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/timeline/cycle8_targets.html. We expect to send out Email to all PIs containing the results, evaluations, and instructions on how to prepare Stage 2 budget proposals by the end of the month.

The RXTE Project extends its thanks to the many enthusiastic researchers who submitted proposals, as well as those who selflessly gave of their time and energy to participate as reviewers. Hats off for a job well done!

Kouveliotou Shares Rossi Prize for RXTE Result!

January 15, 2003

RXTE Guest Observer Chryssa Kouveliotou is one of three scientists to be awarded this year's top prize in High Energy Astrophysics--the Bruno Rossi Prize. The Rossi Prize is awarded by the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). Chryssa is recognized for her ground-breaking observational confirmation of the existence of magnetars---neutron stars with incredibly strong magnetic fields--- with RXTE data. She shares the award with Robert Duncan and Christopher Thompson, who predicted the existence of magnetars and coined the name. Way to go, Chryssa! Press release: http://universe.nasa.gov/press/2003/030115a.html

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This page is maintained by the RXTE GOF and was last modified on Thursday, 09-Feb-2006 15:31:20 EST.